The Los Angeles Police Department has moved its annual gun buyback program up to Wednesday so that Angelenos can take "concrete action" after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The city's fourth annual buyback is taking place Wednesday at both the Los Angeles Sports Arena in downtown Los Angeles and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gun owners will be able to turn in their firearms and ammunition with no questions asked. In exchange, they will receive a grocery gift card for amounts based on the value of the gun. Handguns, rifles and shotguns will get up to $100, and assault weapons will get up to $200.
"Cities and states must join with the federal government to do everything we can, as quickly as we can, to keep our communities safe," LA Mayor Villaraigosa said at a press conference last week. "It is absolutely critical to provide Angelenos with concrete actions they can take today to make our city safer tomorrow."
Critics of the program say that because police don't do ballistic checks on all the weapons, weapons used in crimes go unnoticed. However, according to the LAPD, since the inception of the program in 2009, nearly 8,000 guns have been turned in, and the city has seen a 39% reduction in gang crimes, a 33% reduction in the number of “shots fired” incidents, and 241 fewer shot victims.
"When compared to the numbers of guns that have been taken off the streets during the same time period it certainly can be suggested that the program is having a positive impact on the safety of our communities," the department said on its blog.
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