The Milwaukee Gun Buyback Program has done little to stop violent crimes in the city, so some in the community are suggesting alternatives that may result in a safer city without having to pay people to go and steal guns. The program has paid up to $150 for handguns and sawed-off shotguns, and while a few hundred guns have been taken off the streets, critics maintain that the system is flawed. The main reason why gun buyback programs do not work, they maintain, is because there are simply too many guns in the United States. In fact, nearly eight million guns are sold yearly (legally), and people in the US own 200 - 250 million guns.
The Milwaukee Association of Unarmed Liberals has said that it will fund a new program to protect Milwaukeeans from gun violence by raising money to purchase bullet-proof garments for citizens, rather than trying to buy the guns. “There’s really no point in buying these guns,” said Harold Callahan, the group’s leader. “Criminals aren’t going to sell their guns for a measly $150, and most people that do sell them either stole them or found them on a playground. What we need is protection, and a Kevlar vest can at least provide some of that.” MAUL has suggested that hundreds of vests be ordered for a pilot program in one of Milwaukee’s most notoriously violent neighborhoods. People will be encouraged to wear the protective vests every day, and the hope is that manufacturers will eventually come our with more stylish versions of the vests. “We’ve talked to rap artist Fabolous about his line of fashion clothing, and we’re hoping he’ll design some pieces around a bullet-proof vest. That would be off the hook, I believe.”
The hope is that a safety uniform worn by everyone, all the time will emerge that will make gun violence less violent, and more of a gun annoyance. The major issue facing MAUL is funding, as vests cost in the neighborhood of $400 each, while windbreakers go for around $1000, and aren’t terribly comfortable during Milwaukee’s summer shooting season. Callahan is hoping the private sector will see the need for protecting the people of Milwaukee, and will begin donating. Callahan notes, however, that he’d rather see some innocent child safe behind body armor than some lucky punk cash in on a gun he used to hold someone up.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 September 2012 23:34