LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — If you are ready to give up your gun or guns, police want to take them off your hands and give you a gift.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s annual Anonymous Gun Buyback program is scheduled for Saturday at two locations:
Los Angeles Sports Arena
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037
Facey Medical Group
11165 Sepulveda Boulevard
Mission Hills, CA 91345
People who turn in their firearms will receive up to $200 in gift cards with no questions asked.
The LAPD estimates about 800 firearms will be turned in this year, and each weapon will be destroyed within 48 hours.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there is no federal gun registry. So it is impossible to know how many guns are legally sold every year.
But the ATF does keep track of the number of firearms manufactured in the United States. In 2014, the number was more than 9 million.
Where do the 800 expected in the gun buyback program fit in to that bigger picture?
“This is one of the tools that we use to combat gun violence,” detective Ben Meda of the LAPD.
Police say most crime guns were originally purchased legally, then changed hands often a number of times before they end up in criminals’ hands.
“When you talk to a mother of somebody that’s been killed, you can see a hollowness in their eyes. You can see that their heart has been absolutely ripped out,” said Deputy Chief Phillip Tingirides of the LAPD.
Lawanda Hawkins’ 19-year-old son, Reggie, was shot and killed in South L.A. in 1995. His murder has never been solved. “When we remove guns from our streets, we save lives in our streets; it’s that simple,” she said.