photo credit: candgnews

photo credit: candgnews

“Mom, I’m going to the library to drop off some books!”

“OK Bobby. Are you walking or riding your bike?”

“Bike…”

“Good. Would you drop this old .45 in the gun drop box on your way? I don’t think it’s loaded.”

“Aw Moooom, do I haaaave to?”

“Don’t you stall me, young man! You know how important it is to get guns off the street!”

“I guess. OK.”

“And be careful…”

“Yeah, yeah…”

That McDaniel! What a kidder he is on his scruffy little blog! Nothing like that little scenario could ever happen. Well, not unless Bobby and his mother live in Tacoma, as Fox News explains: 

Gun control advocates in Tacoma, Wash., are thinking inside the box — literally — with a controversial proposal to set up a gun ‘drop box’ to encourage residents to turn in firearms, no questions asked.

The city of 203,000 has similar collection boxes for drugs, and officials say a secure, steel box can help get guns off the streets without subjecting nervous citizens to police interaction.

Golly! I don’t see what could possibly go wrong…

The main intent and goal is just to get these weapons off the streets,’ Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell told the The News Tribune, stressing that the program is still in its planning stages.

I’m sure the Chief has the best intentions–OK, actually I don’t, but let’s play along–but perhaps we should, in the interests of balance, hear a few dissenting voices:

Dubious critics say a box full of guns could prove tempting to criminals — and that’s if people actually took the city up on the offer.

‘In other news: New Gun store for criminals opens in Tacoma called: The Drop Box,’ one person tweeted.

Tacoma Police Union President Sgt. Jim Barrett doubts the boxes will get much use.

‘Are we really expecting these people to walk down the street to this drop box, with the gun tucked in their shorts, and drop it off?’ he asked. ‘It doesn’t seem to me to be a thought-out process as of right now.

It might not seem premature to nominate Barrett for the understatement of the year award, but let’s not be hasty…

A host on KIRO’s ‘Tom and Curley Show’ agreed.

‘We have this need in the community to have a place where people can innocently drop guns in boxes,’ he continued. ‘Can you imagine someone walking up to the box — right? — look around and the put the gun in there? Can you believe anyone would do that?

Hmm. Is there any trend abroad in the nation these days that might have a bearing on this issue? Perhaps the growing lust of some segments of society to ambush and murder police officers? I suspect that while the Tacoma police could not expect to find any guns in their little boxes–if they weren’t utterly destroyed by criminal vandals–they could expect to find booby-traps. Perhaps Chief Ramsdell would volunteer, solo, to collect any contents? No? Didn’t think so.

George Mason University economics professor Alex Tabarrok said those programs have been proven ineffective, and he predicted the same result for a drop box scheme. Anyone in the port city who wants to get rid of a gun discreetly, Taborrok said, has an easy option: toss it in Puget Sound.

City leaders out to reduce the number of guns on the streets largely have their hands tied, said Taborrok. Any historic gun decline in a city would only come after new gun-control policies from Washington, D.C. He said city mayors’ best tool to keep crime down in a city is to increase police patrol.

‘Any funds you’d use in programs like these buybacks would be much better served by adding an additional police officer,’ he said.

Well yes, but that wouldn’t be any fun. Were dealing with people who see guns and gun ownership as an absolute societal evil, hence, “getting guns off the street,” is a great good and a marvelous political achievement. The types of guns matter not. The owners of those guns matter not. Whether the guns are functional or irreparably broken matters not. They’re going to get guns off the street!

What, I hear you asking, gentle readers, does this have to do with combatting criminal violence? Rational people that you are, you know that law-abiding people are–well–law-abiding. It doesn’t matter what kind of guns they own or how many, they aren’t going to use them to break the law. Criminals, on the other hand, are criminals because they don’t obey the law–any law. The mere fact of gun possession for the felonious among them is a real problem. But won’t Chief Ramsdell’s well-intentioned gun drop idea help the Tacoma police go after criminals?

Well, any guns dropped off will be anonymous, and the police won’t try to trace them or anyone that ever touched or owned them. Can’t have the police breaking implied promises to vicious felons, can we? So I guess this won’t have any effect on criminals.

But surely the Chief knows this; after all, he’s the Chief of Police. He must know that this political ploy will do nothing at all for public safety, might actually be helpful to criminals, and will arguably endanger Tacoma officers? Of course he does. That’s what I meant earlier; he doesn’t have the best intentions. If he did, he’d be working only on ideas that enhance public safety. He’d want to be “subjecting nervous [criminal] citizens to police interaction.” He’d want to make criminals–not the law-abiding–as nervous as possible.

As John Belushi used to say: “But noooooooooooo!” Any public official that does not trust the honest and law-abiding with the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights is not fit for public office or civilized company. They belong most properly in the company of the criminal classes–including other politicians–they seek to comfort and aid.

As I’ve often observed, gentle readers, gun banners never, ever give up. Thomas Jefferson was right. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, in Tacoma and everywhere else.

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