Today, I stood with Chief Beck in front of 2,500 guns that were collected during the 2010 Gun Buyback Program. I am proud to say that the buyback exceeded our expectations with 800 more guns collected this year than the previous year's effort.
See pictures of the 2500+ guns on their way to being smelted.
The program, created by the Mayor's Gang Reduction and Youth Development Office, offers those who surrender their weapons, no questions asked, a VISA or Ralph's gift card as an incentive. We believed that when faced with an easy, safe way to voluntarily surrender a weapon, coupled with the right kind of incentives, people will come forward and give up their guns.
This year's highly successful turn-out shows that the gifts-for-guns method has been tested and it works.
The Gun Buyback was held at five locations across the City this Saturday. I visited the Hollenbeck site where I witnessed the overwhelming support of our Gun Buyback program with the line starting an hour and a half before the site even opened its doors. Hundreds of people waited patiently to give back their firearms -- sometimes free of compensation -- to say no to guns, no to gangs and no to indiscriminate violence in our neighborhoods.
And this was only one site. From the Valley to the Harbor and Boyle Heights to South Los Angeles, the message was heard loud and clear as thousands of Angelenos banded together to surrender their firearms to insure that 2,511 firearms didn't land in the hands of violent criminals.
And the results speak for themselves: 1,216 handguns, 747 rifles, 463 shotguns and 85 assault weapons all off of our streets and all out of our communities. The residents of this city seized the opportunity to make a real difference for our children and families by taking matters into their own hands and preventing the next tragic shooting.
None of this would have been possible without the help of sponsors, faith leaders, non-profits, and law enforcement officials. I would like to especially thank all Angelenos who joined us over the weekend in securing a safer City for every family by turning in their guns and helping us get dangerous weapons off the streets. Even if we only prevented one homicide -- all the effort was worth it. We are By taking one gun off the street at a time, we are saving countless lives.
Cross-posted at mayor.lacity.org