It may be difficult to look at that many firearms at once after the Newtown shooting, but just think about it: They were all returned, in what's being called an instant gun-buyback boom, and in one of the most dangerous places in America. This weekend, a state-sponsored cash-for-guns program in Camden County, New Jersey, saw the return of 1,137 firearms — the most successful buyback in state history, and not the only record-breaking return haul since Friday's massacre. "We heard that there were a number of gun owners on Saturday who had publicly said, in light of the situation that had just occurred in Connecticut, they wanted to turn in their weapons," Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Camden police department, said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer's Darran Simon today. "Loriquet said the previous most successful gun buyback in the state was a 2009 event in Newark, East Orange, and Irvington that yielded more than 700 weapons in a day and a half from Essex County residents," Simon added. And here comes the poetic part: back in 2008, Camden had the distinction of being declared the most dangerous city in the United States, with 2,333 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
Camden isn't the only place that experienced a sudden buyback boom over the weekend. The Oakland/San Francisco buyback saw people drop off nearly 600 guns Saturday, some of whom didn't even waiting for the $200 reimbursement for their firearms."This was our largest gun buyback ... In June, I think we got 47," Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan told the Oakland Tribune.
We've seen the events at Sandy Hook Elementary change, for the moment, different facets of cultural and political life — from things as trite as Ke$ha's career being damaged because of her "Die Young" to meaningful action like Michigan's Republican governor vetoing a Republican-sponsored concealed arms bill — and the record participation in gun buyback programs is just one more piece of that.