Buyback program “Guns 4 Ukraine” in Miami

Miami announced an event for tomorrow:

The City of Miami has established a voluntary gun buyback program to help provide security and defense equipment to Ukraine.

Your donations will be used to support efforts in support of Ukraine. Receive a gift card starting at $50 for an old, unused or found gun, no questions asked. Do your part to make our streets safer. Visa gift cards will be redeemed for weapons in the following amounts:

  • $50 Handgun
  • $150 Shotgun/Carbine
  • $250 High Power Assault Rifle

But like AmmoLand (Lee Williams) reports are complicated; he asked the Miami Police Department if he had a firearms export license, which is apparently required for this type of project, and was told “no”, with the following explanation:

However, at the June 9, 2021 Commission meeting, the City of Miami passed Resolution R-22-0219 directing the City Manager to “take all necessary steps to work with federal authorities to ship any weapons received as part of the city’s gun buyback program”. to Ukraine for use in the conflict against the Russian invasion.” The directive to take “all necessary steps to work with federal authorities” may include, but is not limited to, obtaining a license export in accordance with the Arms Export Controls Act (AECA), including compliance with the requirements of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR); any guidance from the Trade Controls Directorate of the defense of the Department of State regarding AECA export controls and licensing of items listed on the United States Munitions List; all relevant portions of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); and/or the compliance with Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security export controls for items listed in the Trade Control List (including firearms) pursuant to the Eco-Credentials Act International Emergency Regulations and Part 774 of the Export Administration Regulations; and/or compliance with the National Firearms Act, including any application for a permanent firearms export permit; all necessary permissions from the ATF prior to export; or compliance with any one-time license exception that the City may be entitled to obtain, as provided for in the provisions of the ITARs. The actual ability of the City to legally export anything is speculative at this time, as the City cannot predict the amount or types of firearms that will be donated during a buyback event.

Now, maybe the plan was just to get people to hand over guns whether or not the guns make it to Ukraine (especially in a timely manner). But like CNN (Peter Nickeas) notes, “Experts say there is no evidence the programs reduce violence”; for example, a National Bureau of Economic Research article from 2021, “Have US gun buy-back programs failed?,” by Toshio Ferrazares, Joseph J. Sabia, and D. Mark Anderson, concluded:

We conclude that GBPs are an ineffective policy strategy to reduce gun violence, a conclusion consistent with descriptive evidence that (i) the sale prices of firearms are set too low by cities to substantially reduce local supply firearms (Reuter and Mouzos 2004), (ii) most GBP participants come from low-crime risk populations (Planty and Truman 2013; Violano et al. 2014; Romero et al. 1998), and (iii) firearms sold in GBP tend to be older and perform less well than the average firearm (Kuhn et al. 2002; Levitt 2004).

(See also this article from the Foundation for Economic Education.) And I particularly note point (iii); I’m not sure the Ukrainians would be helped as much by eventually getting a bunch of guns that the Americans were willing to sell for $50-250, even if the shipment is limited to those the Miami PD deems “functional” .

Ryan H. Bowman