(CNS) A gun buyback will be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple today in response to the elementary-school shooting in Connecticut.
Los Angeles Police Department officials will be on hand at both locations from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to accept weapons. A shorter-than-usual, 10-day planning window required the city to offer only the two drop-off sites rather than the usual six, according to Vicki Curry of the mayor's office.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced on Dec. 17 that he was accelerating the buyback program from its regular time in May in response to the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn. that left 20 students and six adults at the school dead in addition to the shooter.
"Cities and states must join with the federal government to do everything we can, as quickly as we can, to keep our communities safe,'' Villaraigosa said. "It is absolutely critical to provide Angelenos with concrete actions they can take today to make our city safer tomorrow.''
Per the usual buyback program, gun owners will be able to donate weapons anonymously, "no questions asked,'' Villaraigosa stressed. People who trade in automatic weapons will receive $200 Ralphs grocery store gift cards. Handguns, rifles and shotguns can be exchanged for $100 gift cards.
The city's fourth annual Gun Buyback Program, in May, netted 1,673 firearms, a four-year low. Fifty-three assault weapons were collected. The haul also included 791 handguns, 527 rifles, 302 shotguns and one anti-tank rocket launcher. Also recovered two pocket pistols worth an estimated $2,000 and an illegal belt-buckle pistol.
While LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has called gun buybacks one tool among many to prevent gun violence, their value was questioned by a 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences.
"Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review,'' found that "the theory underlying gun buyback programs is badly flawed, and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs.''
The report found that guns that are typically surrendered in buyback programs are those that are least likely to be used in criminal activities, such as guns that are old or malfunctioning and guns owned by people who derive little value from possessing them.