Evanston’s mayor and the Evanston Community Foundation announced plans this week to launch a fundraising drive to buy back guns from Evanston residents in hopes of reducing gun violence in the community.
The program has a goal of raising $10,000 and the purchase of guns would be handled by the city under procedures that have yet to be developed.
It’s part of a broader response to the issue of gun violence brought dramatically to the community’s attention by last month’s fatal shooting of 14-year-old Dajae Coleman.
Gun buyback programs have been considered in Evanston at least since 1999, but haven’t previously been put into effect, for reasons including suggestions that people who planned to use weapons to commit crimes would be unlikely to turn them in.
A Gallup poll last year reported that 47 percent of Americans say they have a gun in their home. Republicans were 7 percentage points more likely than average to report having a gun, and Democrats were 7 points less likely.
Midwestern residents were slightly more likely than the national average to have guns.
But If one were to assume that in heavily-Democratic Evanston just 40 percent of households had a gun, and each gun-owning household had only one gun, with more than 29,000 households, Evanstonians could be projected to own 11,600 guns.
Chicago Magazine recently reported that there are 441 federally licensed gun dealers in suburban Cook county and the five collar counties.
A gun buyback program in Chicago this summer, which offered a $100 gift card for working guns, took 5,500 working and replica guns off the street, although one downstate gun rights group used it to raise $6,200 for a youth gun safety program, and critics said most of the weapons turned in were junk.
What do you think? Is a gun buyback program a good idea for Evanston?