With 1,673 Firearms Swapped for Gift Cards, 4th Annual Gun Buyback Day Was Least Successful
Although a total of 1,673 firearms were voluntarily taken out of homes and off the streets of Los Angeles Saturday during the annual citywide gun "buyback" event, this year saw the lowest turnout in the program's four-year history.
The haul included 791 handguns, 527 rifles, 302 shotguns and one anti-tank rocket launcher. Also recovered were a pair of pocket pistols worth an estimated $2,000 and an illegal belt-buckle pistol, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said, according to City News Service.
An estimated 600 weapons poured in during the first hour of the buyback alone. All the weapons were swapped for gift cards worth either $100 or $200 to Ralphs or from Visa; the value of the gift card depended on the kind of firearm being turned in.
The guns are turned in with no questions asked and anonymously. The weapons are researched to determine if they are stolen or were used in a crime, otherwise they are destroyed.
While L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa believes the program is one part of reducing gun violence in the city, others think the whole thing is kind of absurd.
Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt called the program "nonsense.'' Pratt believes that the guns are simply junk, otherwise why would someone unload the gun at lower than market value in the first place.
Villaraigosa admits it's not likely these guns would be used in crimes, but rather could be involved in accidental or self-defense shootings.