LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The city of L.A.’s annual gun buyback event will take place Wednesday in Downtown L.A. and Van Nuys, moved up several months in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

LAPD officials will be on hand at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and Van Nuys Masonic Temple from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to take back the firearms.

READ MORE: Boy Killed, Young Girl Among 2 Wounded In Wilmington Shooting

The gun buyback event usually takes place in May but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced last week that he was accelerating the program in response to the Newtown massacre that left 20 students and eight adults dead, including the gunman.

“Right now is the time for all of us to act. Too often in the wake of a tragedy like this we’re told it’s too soon to talk about solutions. Too often policymakers are held hostage by the status quo,” Villaraigosa said.

The mayor credited the gun buyback program, which allows residents to turn in weapons with “no questions asked”, with getting close to 8,000 firearms out of people’s hands.

“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.”

Residents can anonymously turn in their firearms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 26 at two locations: Los Angeles Sports Arena, Parking Lot 6, at 3939 South Figueroa Street and Van Nuys Masonic Temple at 14750 Sherman Way.

READ MORE: SoCal Gets First Rain In Weeks Tuesday

The city is offering up to $100 Ralph’s gift cards for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 gift cards for Calif. classified assault weapons.

The city netted 1,673 firearms, a four-year low, at the buyback program last May. Authorities recovered 53 assault weapons, 791 handguns, 527 rifles, 302 shotguns and one anti-tank rocket launcher. Police also apprehended a pair of pocket pistols worth an estimated $2,000 and an illegal belt-buckle pistol.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he considers gun buybacks one of many tools to prevent gun violence.

However, a 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences found that the gun buyback programs were ineffective. Researchers found that the guns typically surrendered were those that were least likely to be used in criminal activities.

For more about the program click here.

MORE NEWS: Suspect In Stolen Car Leads Police On Wild Pursuit Through San Fernando Valley

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)