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Sobol Shares Findings on Gun Buyback Programs

Posted: April 10, 2013

James J. Sobol, associate professor of criminal justice, will share his research on the effectiveness of gun buyback programs on Friday, April 12, from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. in E. H. Butler Library 210.

“Reducing Gun Violence: The Rhetoric and Reality of a Gun Buyback Program” is part of the Year of the City lecture series. It is free and open to the public.

“There are a number of assumptions about guns—that fewer guns result in less crime and, at the other end of the spectrum, that we should give people more guns to protect themselves,” said Sobol who will address how these two divergent perceptions factor into the hotly debated nationwide conversation on gun ownership.

What Sobol has discovered is that gun buyback programs do not result in lower crime rates.

“The results of the study show that there has been no significant impact in the cities (including Buffalo) that offered a gun buyback program,” he said. “The population of people turning in guns is likely not the same population of people committing crimes in the city.”

Additionally, the new gun legislation being considered in some states and adopted in others is intended to stop a type of shooting that occurs very infrequently, Sobol said.

“We need more sensible gun policies that respond to crimes that occur frequently,” he said. “We need to seize this window of opportunity to evaluate the effects of various gun policies and formulate policy based on sound social scientific evidence.” 

Finally, Sobol concluded that enhanced background checks that close the loopholes and police efforts that focus on high-risk places and high-risk people, should be emphasized if we hope to have an impact on gun crime rates.

Sobol’s research includes empirical assessments of violence reduction strategies and police behavior, attitudes, organizations, and management.

For more information on this and other Year of the City lectures, call (716) 878-6674.


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Criminal Justice

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Buffalo, NY 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-4517 •  Fax: (716) 878-3240