Gallery: 600 Weapons Turned In During 1st Hour of L.A.'s Gun Buyback Program
More than 600 weapons were turned in during the first hour Los Angeles' fourth gun buyback program. The program allows owners to trade their weapons in for a gift card for groceries without having to answer any questions. Police check the guns to see if they were reported stolen, and if not they're melted down. So far over 6,200 weapons have been bought back by the city's program.
"Any time you can remove guns that are the potential tool to destroy human lives, it's a positive thing," LAPD spokesman Lt. Andy Neiman told The Daily News. "So rather than these guns fall into the hands of someone who would do evil with it, they're surrendered and destroyed, and these folks get a gift card to do something nice."
Although police and city officials say the program helps to put a dent in crime, some criticize the program as a mostly useless PR stunt. Pro-gun activist Bruce Boyer complained to the Daily News that the program gives criminals a "get-out-of-jail-free card." Others are skeptical that actual criminals will turn over their weapons and livelihood. Statistics show that a few thousand guns turned over in a big city like Los Angeles, which could be home to more than 1 million firearms, and critics are skeptical the program could make a dent in gun-related crime. A 2004 study by The National Academies Press finds that non-criminals are more likely to turn in guns they never use. However, it's not clear whether events like these could put a dent in accidental deaths, suicides or even homicides by people we wouldn't typically think of as "career criminals".
The city will announce how many guns it bought back on Monday, and whether anyone turned in a grenade or something crazy. Photographer Shawn Nee had a chance to stop by the gun buyback site in Mission Hills, and he sent LAist photos of surrendered revolvers, rifles and ammo (oh my).
Why L.A.'s Gun Buyback Day is Day Before Mother's Day
From 2011: 2,062 Weapons Swapped for Gift Cards During LAPD Gun Buyback Event
From 2010: 2000 Guns + 1 Grenade Traded in During Mayor's Weapon Buyback