By: José Niño

A few weeks ago, the city of Roanoke, Virginia held a gun buyback event where gun owners had the opportunity to turn in weapons for a grocery store gift card.

Cam Edward of Bearing Arms noted that, at first glance, the event looked like “an unqualified success for those putting on the compensated confiscation program.” After an hour, local leaders ran out of money and had received 91 firearms.

This gun buyback was marketed as an effort to promote public safety and was co-sponsored by the Roanoke chapter of the NAACP.

“We believe that everybody can do something,” Brenda Hale, president of the Roanoke NAACP declared. “The line that we have here is evidence that people want to do their part.”

Despite the lofty marketing behind this program, the evidence shows that it has done little to stop crime. For example, WDBJ7 reported that there has been a 33 percent increase in gun-related incidents from August 2020 to August 2021.

The last few days have been busy in the Star City for the police department, but the incidents themselves are not what’s most problematic. The city’s chief prosecutor, Don Caldwell is already being slammed by the gun-related cases.

“What we’ve dealt with here for the last few years is that it will say, witnesses did not cooperate or are not cooperating or it will say, which is even more concerning, that the very victim who was shot, is not cooperating,” explained Caldwell.

“When you have the incidents that happen, and you’re not getting information enough to further it right there, it takes the investigators a whole lot longer, that is not the only case, they have so they’re working other cases,” said Deputy Chief Eric Charles.

Cooperation between law enforcement and witnesses is key to getting to the bottom of crimes. But when there’s a disconnect, many crimes go unsolved, and criminals feel emboldened to continue their illicit activity, knowing that they won’t be apprehended by law enforcement.

“The officer on the street makes a probable cause determination, the magistrate makes a probable cause determination, the general district judge makes a probable cause determination, the grand jury makes a probable cause determination, but the jury or judge in circuit court is deciding beyond a reasonable doubt,” stated Caldwell.

Indeed, promoting more cooperation between law enforcement and citizen crime-ridden communities will do more to reduce crime than gun buybacks and other civilian disarmament schemes.

Virginia has drifted rather blue over the course of two decades. As a result, the state will have weaker law enforcement policies and stronger gun control measures. This will turn out to be bad for Virginians living in troubled neighborhoods, as they can’t rely on law enforcement to do their jobs effectively, and civilians will not have a reliable means of defending themselves against criminals.

Unfortunately, the political classes in blue states don’t see things that way and prefer to virtue signal and pass policies that make people’s lives more miserable.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.