Sunday, May 10, 2015

Confiscating Guns Is Very Expensive

The May 5, 2015 Washington Post reports that confiscating guns turns out to be very expensive:
In most states, you cannot have guns if you’re a felon, or if you have been committed for mental illness. Many also prohibit gun ownership by domestic violence offenders or drug abusers.

You’re supposed to get rid of your guns if you fall into any of these categories. If the police later catch you with one, they can charge you with illegal possession, which should serve as a deterrent. But rarely will officers come knocking on your door asking you give up your firearms.

Except in California, which operates an expensive and unique program to track down illegally-owned guns. The state checks its records to find registered gun owners who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence crimes, or who have been flagged as being mentally unstable. Roving teams of armed agents in bulletproof vests visit the homes of such people to make sure they have surrendered their guns.

This is a slow, painstaking process, and it has fallen behind in recent years. After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2013, lawmakers gave the gun seizure program a $24 million infusion to fund more agents to knock on more doors. The goal was to investigate every one of the 20,000-some people who remained on the illegal gun owner list.

Two years later, the state has barely made a dent in the backlog.
Gunfreezone points out:
If  my numbers are right, the State of California spent 9.6 million dollars to confiscate 3,286 guns. That comes to $2,921 per gun, that is Custom 1911 or Daniel Defense AR prices for maybe Glocks or even Hi-Points carbines!

Dear California’s Department of Justice, I have an idea: Send the violators a letter saying you are willing to pay…let’s say $1,500 per gun that has to be confiscated anyway. You tell them to come to any police station, surrender the guns and they will be issued a voucher redeemable at any bank for the value of the bounty. Right there I cut 50% of your expenses.
Yes, but gun control is mostly a makework program for the government.  Imagine thew cost if Obama actually tried to confiscate the 300 million guns in the U.S.!


  1. The question is not the cost of confiscating the gun versus its market price; it’s the cost of the gun versus the cost of what crimes the owner might commit with it.

    A crappy Phoenix Arms .22 costs about $125. What would taking it away from a paranoid meth head be worth?

    (I hope no one is going to argue there is no point in even trying to keep guns out of the hands of known criminals and lunatics.)

    1. Without question, there are many people who need disarming. But every such effort has costs. If it cost $100,000 to disarm that meth head, might there be a better use of those funds?