More than 800 firearms traded in LA gun buy-back program

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – City officials collected 817 firearms during a weekend gun buyback program that allowed people to turn in weapons — no questions asked — in exchange for Ralphs gift cards, the mayor’s office announced today.

According to the mayor’s office, 387 handguns were among the weapons turned in during Saturday’s event, along with 131 shotguns and 31 assault weapons.

“The buybacks are about taking guns off the street where they could fall into the hands of criminals or our children,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Saturday’s effort featured drop-off locations in Van Nuys, Wilmington and Elysian Park. People who surrendered assault weapons were given a $200 grocery card, while other weapons were exchanged for $100 cards.

Since the gun buyback program began in 2009, nearly 12,000 guns have been turned in, according to the mayor’s office.

The effectiveness of gun buyback programs has been questioned by some critics. A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences titled “Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review” found that “the theory underlying gun buyback programs is badly flawed,” noting that guns surrendered during such efforts are least likely to be used in criminal activities.

Officials with the mayor’s office, however, insisted the program was beneficial, noting that an informal survey of people who took part in Saturday’s effort found that nearly 60 percent of participants now have gun- free homes, and more than 90 percent felt their neighborhoods were now safer.

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