Optional gun buyback programs more likely than compulsory ones to miss mark: expert

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is expected to introduce gun-control legislation this week that gives owners the choice of keeping recently outlawed firearms under strict conditions instead of turning them in for compensation.

However a gun-control expert who has studied buyback initiatives says optional programs, as opposed to compulsory ones, have a greater chance of missing the mark of making communities safer.

Philip Alpers, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Sydney's school of public health in Australia, says the evidence shows that a voluntary buyback is the most likely to fail.

Alpers points to major gun buyback programs in Australia and New Zealand that not only prohibited certain guns but included stiff penalties for not turning them in.

He says in each case it was the threat of a penalty that helped these programs work.

The long-promised Liberal bill would flesh out last spring's ban of many firearms, propose stricter storage provisions and target illegal gun smuggling.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press