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For the Exhibit Entitled "Truly Dumb Ideas"

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In this excellent op-ed [2] in the Oakland Tribune, my GMU colleague Alex Tabarrok (who also, of course, blogs at Marginal Revolution [3]) shoots a bazooka blast through the absurd notion that government schemes to buy guns from citizens will reduce the supply of guns on the street.  Here’s a slice:

Imagine that instead of guns, the Oakland police decided, for whatever strange reason, to buy back sneakers. The idea of a gun buyback is to reduce the supply of guns in Oakland. Do you think that a sneaker buyback program would reduce the number of people wearing sneakers in Oakland? Of course not.

All that would happen is that people would reach into the back of their closet and sell the police a bunch of old, tired, stinky sneakers.

Gun buybacks won’t reduce the number of guns in Oakland. In fact, buybacks may increase the number of guns in Oakland.