Gun Buyback Nets More Than 2,000 Firearms

The program garnered about 400 more weapons than the last buyback. Officials at a press conference also warn gun owners not to shoot into the sky on New Year's Eve.

City officials announced on Thursday that the gun buyback held the day before netted 2,037 weapons, while they also warned revelers who own firearms not to shoot into the sky on New Year's Eve.

The buyback on Wednesday collected 901 handguns, 698 rifles, 363 shotguns and 75 assault weapons from people who dropped off the weapons in exchange for $100 and $200 Ralphs gift cards. The drop-off locations were set up at the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Van Nuys Masonic Temple.

The event is typically held on Mother's Day Weekend, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa moved the date up in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting tragedy in Newtown, CT, that left 20 children and seven adults dead, along with the gunman.

At a news conference Thursday morning at the Los Angeles Police Department's downtown headquarters, Villaraigosa was flanked by tables covered with surrendered firearms, including rifles illegally modified or illegally brought into California from other states, said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

"I and a lot of people who are here today understand how important it is for us to ensure that people have an opportunity to do something," he said.

The mayor also responded to critics of gun buybacks who say people mostly turn in broken firearms rather than weapons likely to be used in crimes.

"These weren't guns some say aren't functioning any longer," Villaraigosa said, "these are serious guns, semi-automatic weapons, guns that have no place on the streets of L.A. or any other city."

Ralphs and the California Wellness Foundation provided $130,000 worth of gift cards for the buyback, while City Controller Wendy Greuel garnered an additional $15,000 in private donations, the mayor said.

The response for the buyback was bigger than expected and police ran out of gift cards. Villaraigosa said 166 people gave up their weapons without accepting gift cards in return.

Gun buybacks in Los Angeles began in 2009 as an effort to reduce gun violence. Since then, more than 9,000 firearms have been surrendered and gun crimes have dropped about 33 percent, Villaraigosa said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and other law enforcement officials came to the news conference to remind gun owners not to fire their weapons into the night sky as part of their New Year's Eve celebrations.

Newly-elected Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said someone doesn't have to be struck by a falling bullet in order for a shooter to be prosecuted for firing a gun into the air.

"Merely shooting a gun in a reckless manner that could result in a person being struck is a crime in and of itself," she said.

Discharging a firearm into the air is a felony punishable by a year in prison.

Beck said one person in the city of Los Angeles was injured by a falling bullet on last New Year's Eve, and he urged people to celebrate responsibly.

"Spend New Year's Eve with your families, spend New Year's Eve with friends," Beck said. "Don't spend it in my jail or Lee Baca's jail.

"If you fire into the air, that's my promise to you, you will get to spend the new year in the big house."

Mark Charles December 29, 2012 at 01:01 AM
They might have netted even more if the hours had been extended or it had been a 2 day event. The the line of cars at the Sports Arena was over an hour long. Excellent job though and a terrific program. Thank you all or your holiday effort!!
John hacker December 31, 2012 at 04:48 AM
FACTS TO PONDER : (A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000. (B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are120,000. (Calculation) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Now think about this: Guns: (A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that's 80 million..) (B) The number of accidental gun death per year, all age groups, is 1,500. (Calculation) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188. Statistics courtesy of FBI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.' >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention.
frankie January 01, 2013 at 08:35 AM
What a perfect way to dis-arm the people of the united states!!...." Here, I will give you $100 for your $1200 firearm"......and when the government wants your freedom of speech and every other right, they might only give you their boot up your ass.....wake up America!!!!!
John hacker January 03, 2013 at 02:48 PM
What the sheeple in America don't realize, is that our gov is a fraud. It is nothing more than a international criminal cartel. If the sheeple only knew the truth they would be stirring in their corrals. If they could understand the relationship between the Israeli cartel and us, they would see we are being controlled by them. Phony terrorist attacks, phoney wars, loss of our freedoms. When 20 Americans die, the sheeple are outraged, but when Israel, "our best friend" slaughters women and children on a regular basis they yawn. Such hypocritical sheeple. They are content with their tweets and twitters, and Facebook. They have lady gaga and kardashians. Their ignorance is actually quite amusing.
rob January 16, 2013 at 10:03 AM
ROCKET LAUNCHERS were only replicas, this is just a publicity stunt by Villaraigosa and the LAPD... propaganda.


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