Last Wednesday, the day after Christmas, the city of Los Angeles held another one of their gun buyback programs. (While L.A.'s annual buyback generally takes place in May, this one was moved up in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown.) The concept is straightforward: Turn over your gun to the LAPD, no questions asked, and in return for making the streets a little safer, you get a $100 gift card from Ralphs. Turn over an assault weapon, and that gift card doubles into a $200 prize.
At the end of the day, the final number of guns removed from the streets was 901 handguns, 698 rifles, 363 shotguns, 75 assault rifles and, oh yeah, two actual rocket launchers! That's a grand total of 2,039 weapons, which destroyed the tally from last May's buyback program that saw 1,650 guns removed from the streets.
(In fact, the response was so overwheming that some had to wait in line for hours, and the city eventually ran out of gift cards to distribute, both problems that are net-positive rather than negative, and perhaps an indication the city needs to make this a bi-annual event at the very least.)
While the inherent peer pressure that comes with mentioning the above statistics of others willfully turning in their weapons to the city is a great motivator and all, those who own guns are sometimes not the most pliable personalities around. Instead, when the next buyback program comes around, gun owners must take a cold, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves one simple question: Which is a better thing for me to own, guns or food?
To help solve that, I decided to make a list of all of the pros for each of the two categories:
- ... you can shoot stuff? Metal cans or street signs or whatever, from pretty far distances if you're, like, out in the desert and looking for a way to pass a few hours.
- Theoretically, you can stop a home invasion. But that's only if the theoretical extends to include the fact that the invaders themselves are complete idiots, unarmed, easy to distinguish from other household objects like, say, pets or family members, and you're one of those few people who can rouse themselves from sleep quickly and be completely in control of all of their faculties, to the point where locating, loading, cocking, pointing, and shooting a weapon is no biggie.
- If the government ever gets out of hand, you can totally help overthrow it. Except, of course, they have a lot bigger and stronger guns and other high-tech machines, so the odds are stacked a bit against that attempt actually succeeding. But, still...
- It can be used as a really fancy paperweight.
- YOU NEED IT TO SURVIVE!
- It's delicious. The food items that are bad for you are, obviously, great-tasting. But even those things you hate eating, the foods you plow through as quickly as possible with your nose held (read: kale), but have to do so because you're an adult and don't have the metabolism of a kid anymore ... they're still roughly one thousand times tastier than a gun.
- It's relatively cheap. At least, compared to the cost of a weapon, the bullets for said weapon, the anxiety that comes with welding such awesomely destructive power in the palm of your hand, and the possible court cases/fines that come if you end up ever using it.
- If you don't eat it, YOU WILL DIE! (Sure, this is just a rewording of the first point, but that's still a pretty big point.)
The choice is yours.