The Los Angeles Police Department on Saturday held an anonymous gun buyback at four locations citywide, offering gift cards to members of the public in exchange for firearms.
“People drive up, the officers will ask where the gun is located, if it’s loaded or unloaded. Most of the time it’s unloaded, because people have read the qualifications to come here,” said Officer Bruce Borihanh. “The officers will take the gun from them, hand them a voucher. They go down the line, receive their gift cards and they’re on their way.”
Those who turned in handguns, shotguns or rifles were given cards worth $100, redeemable at Ralphs and Food 4 Less supermarkets, according to the LAPD. Participants who surrendered assault weapons received cards worth $200.
The annual event is part of the Gang Reduction and Youth Development program sponsored by the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Several types of firearms were handed over to police on Saturday.
“We’ve had a variety — mostly handguns, old revolvers,” Borihanh said. “We’ve seen several assault weapons. And then, you know, some shotguns they got from grandpa’s garage that have been in there for 75 years.”
Borihanh said the gun buyback program is an effective tool that helps “make the streets safer,” and its anonymity gives individuals an opportunity to turn in weapons that may be “legal or illegal.”
The program decreases the likelihood of a weapon “getting stolen or, heaven forbid, some accident that occurs with that handgun,” he said.