City collects 950 guns in buyback

Commander Andrew Smith holds a 9mm handgun. | Daina Beth Solomon

Commander Andrew Smith holds a 9mm handgun. | Daina Beth Solomon

A World War II rifle outfitted with a grenade launcher, a 9mm handgun inlaid with silver and a Mexican flag emblem, and the type of semi-automatic rifle used by the Sandy Hook gunman will soon meet the same fate: meltdown.

The Los Angeles Police Department collected 950 weapons last weekend in its eighth annual buyback program that gives Angelenos gift cards for guns, no questions asked.

See also on Intersections: Tackling gun violence in South LA

Police Chief Charlie Beck said the program intends to rid homes and streets of “unwanted” arms. [Read more…]

L.A. residents urged to turn in guns


Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck held a news conference Friday near Dodger Stadium to urge L.A. residents to participate in the 3rd Annual Gun Buy-Back program.

Watch Chief Beck’s comments:

The city-wide event will be hosted at six different locations on Saturday, May 7th. Sponsored by Ralphs Grocery Stores, participants who turn in guns will receive a Ralphs gift card for up to $250. Ralphs, along with other corporate sponsors, contributed $200,000 for the 2011 program. Those who turn in weapons will be allowed to do so without being asked any questions.

image Villaraigosa said guns and gangs are the two main issues that threaten the safety of residents in Los Angeles. Because of the success of programs like the Gun Buy-Back, cities all over the country are following L.A.’s lead and implementing similar programs of their own.

The mayor pointed out that some 4,000 weapons were taken off the streets of Los Angeles last year because of a collective effort from the community, non-profit organizations and law enforcement. Due to an overwhelming response, they were unable to buy back all of the weapons that were brought the buy-back sites.

Watch Mayor Villaraigosa’s comments:

The Mayor conceded that all guns won’t be removed from the streets, but he said that if it helps to keep another mother from feeling the pain of losing a child, then the program is worthy. The event is planned to coincide with Mother’s Day weekend each year.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich discussed surprising statistics, noting that last year 600 guns were retrieved from children ages 12 to 17 and 3,200 guns were traced to young people ages 18 to 24 years old in L.A. County.

Watch City Attorney Trutanich’s comments:

Records also showed that 74 percent of California’s homicides are committed with guns and 41 percent of all suicides involved a weapon. More than 32,000 guns used in a crime were recovered in California, with 50 percent of those being recovered in Los Angeles County and 17 percent of that in the City of Los Angeles.

In an exclusive interview with Intersections South LA, Chief Beck spoke about the importance of young people making a concerted effort to talk with peers who have weapons. He said that gun violence is the leading cause of death for young men ages 16 to 41 in L.A. County, and therefore, young people especially should have a stake in this effort.

Watch Chief Beck’s interview with LaMonica Peters:

Anyone who would like to participate should place unloaded weapons in the trunk of their car and drop them off at the following six locations:

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church – 7900 South Western Ave., Los Angeles
Santa Barbara Plaza – 3900 West Martin Luther King Blvd., Los Angeles
The L.A. Fire Dept Training Academy – 1700 Stadium Way, Los Angeles
Florentine Gardens – 5951 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
Valley Area – 11165 Sepulveda Blvd., Mission Hills
Park and Ride Parking Lot – 1300 West Pacific Coast Highway, Wilmington

For more information on the Gun Buy-Back program, call 1-877-LAPD-247