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Dallas gun buyback event draws critics who say it’s not an effective way to take guns off of streets

A protester holding "FREE CASH APPRAISAL" sign at a gun buyback event in east Dallas.
Zara Amaechi
A protester holds a "FREE CASH APPRAISAL" sign at a gun buyback event in east Dallas.

A gun buyback event in east Dallas over the weekend brought in more than 100 firearms, but it also drew critics who say it’s not an effective way to take guns off of the streets.

District 2 City Council member Jesse Moreno partnered with local law enforcement agencies to offer residents a safe way to dispose of unwanted firearms in exchange for Visa gift cards. Ninety-eight long guns, 26 handguns, and more than a dozen combinations of both were turned in to Dallas PD once all gift cards were handed out.

“You can see it has been a great success through a collaboration with the city and the county level.” Constable Michael Orozco said.

But the event also attracted a kind of protest: Groups of men patrolled the line attending only to buy guns for their own profit. They disagreed with the purpose of the gun buyback, saying it’s not enough for gun control.

“If I'm brutally honest, no criminals are going to turn in their firearm for $100,” Carter — who didn’t want to give his last name — said while holding a “FREE CASH APPRAISAL” sign.

“I mean, you can't even find any good guns for under $300. So, there can be a lot more of effective use in terms of what our funds can be allocated for when it comes to gun violence.”

A similar program in Fort Worth received criticism after an investigation found the Fort Worth Police Department also sold.

Researchincluding a 2021 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows gun buyback programs have no effect on gun crime, and don't "reduce suicides or homicides where a firearm is involved."

Moreno said all guns turned in Saturday were taken into Dallas PD possession to be shredded and that the event was about supporting those affected by gun violence.

“We lost a 13-year-old boy to gun violence and his family was asking us, ‘What can we do to keep guns out of our street?’” Moreno said. “And actually, this is how it was developed, by working with a victim of a family member that lost their loved one.”

Zara was born in Croydon, England, and moved to Texas at eight years old. She grew up running track and field until her last year at the University of North Texas. She previously interned for D Magazine and has a strong passion for music history and art culture.