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L.A. Holds Gun Buyback Event

buyback-picThe city of Los Angeles held its annual gun buyback event on Wednesday. The event was moved up several months in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KTLA) — Two rocket launchers handed over to the Los Angeles Police Department during L.A.’s annual Gun Buyback were not functional.

Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa showed off the launchers, which were turned in by families of former military members on December 26.

The LAPD said all along the launchers appeared to be antiquated, and probably could no longer be fired.

The department enlisted the U.S. military to investigate whether the rockets were ever stolen.

Military experts have now confirmed to the Los Angeles Times, the devices were just “stripped down shells,” not capable of discharging.

Authorities collected 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons during Wednesday’s buyback.

The event was moved up several months in response to the elementary school shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut.

rocket-launcherLOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Authorities collected 2,037 firearms, including 75 assault weapons, and two anti-tank rocket launchers during L.A.’s annual gun buyback event.

“Those are weapons of war, weapons of death,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said of the rockets and assault weapons.

“These are made to put high-velocity, extremely deadly, long-range rounds downrange as quickly as possible, and they have no place in our great city,” he added.

The buyback, which was held on Wednesday in South L.A. and Van Nuys, was pushed up several months in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

People were invited to surrender firearms anonymously — with no questions asked — in exchange for Ralph’s gift cards.

At a news conference on Thursday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the success of the program, which collected 400 more weapons than last year.

He said the response to the drive was so great that the city ran out of the gift cards and had to rely on a private donation through the city controller to bolster the pot.

Villaraigosa said the LAPD collected 901 handguns, 698 rifles and 363 shotguns. The weapons will be melted down.

“Perhaps the most honest testament to the success of yesterday’s program can be seen in the 166 weapons that were surrendered for nothing,” Villaraigosa said.

He added that nearly three-quarters of those turning in the weapons said in an informal survey that they felt safer with the weapons off the street.

City officials also used Thursday’s news conference to warn New Year’s Eve revelers against firing weapons into the air.

Authorities said that anyone who fires a gun into the air on New Year’s Eve faces jail time and a fine of up to $10,000, even if no one is hurt.

The city of Los Angeles held its annual gun buyback event at two locations on Wednesday, Dec. 26. The program was shifted from May 2013 to December following the Connecticut elementary school shootings. Elizabeth Espinosa reports.

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — The city of Los Angeles is holding its annual gun buyback event at two locations on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

The event was moved up several months in response to the elementary school shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut.

LAPD officials will be on hand to take back firearms at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The guns can be handed over completely anonymously, with no questions asked.

The city is offering up to $100 Ralph’s gift cards for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 gift cards for assault weapons.

The buyback locations are set up in a drive-thru configuration. People are asked to bring their unloaded weapons secured in the trunk of their vehicles.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa created the gun buyback program in 2009 as another strategy to remove guns from the streets and reduce violence.

It is a joint effort of the LAPD and the Mayor’s Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD) program.

So far, the buyback initiative is credited with getting close to 8,000 firearms off the streets.

In the years since its inception, there has been a 39 percent drop in gang crimes and a 33 percent drop in shots fired calls, according to the mayor’s office.

Last May, police collected 1,673 firearms — a four-year low — including 53 assault weapons, 791 handguns, 302 shotguns and one anti-tank rocket launcher.

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