LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles officials announced Monday that the city’s weekend gun-buyback event resulted in the surrender of more than 1,000 guns.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Police Chief Charlie Beck, as well as City Council members, to announce that the city collected 516 handguns, 381 rifles, 226 shotguns, and 49 assault weapons at the event, which was sponsored by CBS2/KCAL9.
Villaraigosa stated that the program is a local government’s way of curbing gun violence, even though gun control legislation has not seen success at the federal level.
“Like all of you, I was disappointed by Congress’ inability to pass commonsense gun legislation,” Villaraigosa said. “But we will not let inaction in Washington stop us from taking action here in Los Angeles to get guns off of our streets.”
According to officials, the anonymous gun buyback program has removed 11,151 guns from the street during Villaraigosa’s administration.
Police Chief Beck said that every gun that was surrendered over the weekend “will never be used to harm innocent people.”
Although the program is typically funded through private donations, the city took out $250,000 in general funds this year for gift cards that were given out in exchange for the surrendered guns.
The spending motion was introduced by Council members Mitchell Englander and Joe Buscaino.
“As a former LAPD officer, I am aware of the importance of the Gun Buyback program,” Busciano said. “Since the program was launched in 2009, the number of people shot has decreased by 33 percent. Any way we can reduce gun violence is important to the city of Los Angeles.”
As city leaders applaud the program as a method to get weapons off the streets, a number of critics have questioned the effectiveness of such efforts.
A 2004 report by the National Academy of Science, titled “Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review”, found that “the theory underlying gun buyback programs is badly flawed, and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs.”
The same report suggests that the guns that are generally surrendered in buyback programs are those that are the least likely to be used in criminal activities, including guns that are either old or malfunctioning and guns that are of little value to their owners.
(©2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)