Gun Buyback Program Has Record Day

"Gifts for Guns" program has record number of weapons turned in

A citywide gun for gifts program on Mother's Day eve resulted in a record turn in of 2,000 guns and an old hand grenade.

Under the city's annual Gun Buyback program -- which ran from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. Saturday -- residents were able to surrender their firearms, no questions asked, in exchange for a Ralphs grocery store gift card or a prepaid Visa card.

Those turning in assault weapons received gift cards worth $200, while those who gave up handguns, shotguns and rifles got cards worth $100.

As the event began, lines of vehicles stretched down the blocks at various locations, and by the end more than 2,000 guns, rifles and assault weapons had been turned in, breaking the record of 1,700 guns turned in last year, according to CBS2.

In Hollywood, a bomb squad was called when someone turned in a hand grenade left over from the Korean War to a gun collection site at the Farm Fresh Ranch Grocery Store at 5520 Sunset Blvd., but no one was hurt, reported CBS2.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and police Chief Charlie Beck were at the collection site in Boyle Heights.

"There are too many guns in the city of Los Angeles and that is proven every night," said Beck. "Last night it was proven six times. Six individuals were shot -- two murdered."

"We want to stop the pile-up of body bags, so we've put some particular emphasis on getting guns out of this neighborhood." said L.A. gang expert Guillermo Cespedes.

Opponents of gun control have questioned the value of gun buyback programs, expressing doubt that a significant amount of criminals will turn in their guns.

People turned in firearms in Boyle Heights, South Los Angeles, Wilmington, Hollywood and Mission Hills.

Even after the gift cards ran out, people continued to turn in weapons, reported CBS2.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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