Your editorial (“Gun buybacks not effective in curbing shootings,” Dec. 20) was detailed and cogent in its discussion of the failure of gun buyback programs. These programs, as you finally state, have never been successful in reducing violent crime rates and are basically politicians using tax money to appear to do something, even if it is ineffective.
But you failed to discuss the fact that Baltimore has had over 300 murders (again) this year and that there is an obvious change in policy that has the potential to significantly reduce murders and other violent crimes: end the war on drugs. This "war" has been a disastrous failure for almost 50 years and has cost over $1 trillion. Maryland has made some minor steps in the correct direction by decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing it in some respects; other states have done more.
We need to consider the legalization (or decriminalization) of all drugs, thereby eliminating most of the financial rewards obtained by those in the illegal drug trade and reducing the use of violence to settle disagreements. Guns are the tools that drugs dealers use to deal with competitors because they think there is no other option. They definitely are not going to participate in the gun buyback. Their guns are more valuable to them than the amount offered by the government.
Keep up the work to identify ridiculous government programs. On this issue, just go further in considering real solutions to our society's violence problems.
David Griggs, Columbia