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NAT’L – GUN CONTROL – How Would an Assault Weapons Buyback Actually Work?

During last night’s presidential debate, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke forcefully endorsed a mandatory assault weapons buyback, declaring, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” He is one of more than a dozen Democratic candidates who have now called for some form of a buyback policy, which would require or request that gun owners sell their assault-style weapons to the government. To call such a proposal bold is an understatement. Gun owners, who form the core of the conservative base, have long sown opposition to gun control legislation with hyperbole, declaring attempts to pass new gun laws as part of a broader scheme of mass civilian disarmament. A buyback, though supported by roughly 50 percent of Americans, would realize those fears. Since Democratic primary candidates first floated the proposal, several conservative media personalities, including Fox News’s Tucker Carlson and The View’s Meghan McCain, have gone so far as to forewarn violence should a buyback become reality. But the problems are not just political — they’re logistical, too. While several states and cities have run their own voluntary buyback programs, only two nations, Australia and New Zealand, have undertaken a mandatory gun buyback. The United States has 10 times as many people as Australia and New Zealand combined, with more guns than adults. Is it really possible to take a sizable subset of those guns away? And can the country afford to do so? We attempted to find out.  [full article]

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