South LA one location for next gun buyback program

Listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News


Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck on Tuesday announced the city is making it easier for residents to turn in guns. On May 4th, there will be four locations for gun buyback programs:  Elysian Park, Wilmington, South LA, and Van Nuys.  The program is aimed at reducing gun violence in the city.

“I encourage every Angeleno to turn in their guns and say no to senseless violence in our neighborhoods. We’re asking for your help in removing guns from our street.  Turn in your guns, keep weapons away from gang members and dangerous criminals,” said Villarigosa.

Organizers say firearms that are surrendered will be checked to see if they are stolen. If the guns were stolen, they will be returned to their rightful owners. The rest of the firearms will be destroyed by the LAPD.

“We’re offering a comfortable and accessible option for Angelenos to drop off their weapons on neutral grounds.  No questions asked,” said Villarigosa.

In exchange, Angelenos will receive a Ralph’s grocery card for up to 200 dollars for assault weapons and up to 100 dollars for handguns, rifles or shotguns.

The last LA gun buyback was on December 26, 2012 when 2,037 firearms were collected.

Police Chief Charlie Beck attributed the gun buyback programs to decreases in crime rates. But critics of gun buybacks say they are ineffective because these programs attract people who are least likely to commit crimes.

But Chief Beck says the program heightens  the public’s awareness about the dangers associated with guns.

“The most dangerous thing in your home is that that unwanted, that forgotten, that ignored, that unnecessary firearm because that’s the firearm that’s going kill you or one of your loved ones or be stolen and used against one of your neighbors,” said Beck.

The program is headed by an initiative of the Mayor’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development Office along with help from the LAPD.

Since its initiation in 2009, the gun buyback program has collected almost 10,000 firearms across the city.
The buyback will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4 at:

— Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 7900 S. Western Ave.

  — the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Frank Hotchkin Training Academy, 1700 Stadium Way, Elysian Park

— Park & Ride Parking Lot, 1300 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Wilmington

— Van Nuys Masonic Building Association, 14750 Sherman Way.

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