LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The city of Los Angeles will look to buy back illegal and unwanted guns over the weekend.
The program, which has taken over 13,000 weapons off the streets in its six years of existence, is set to begin again Saturday, when the LAPD and City Hall will team up once more as part of the city’s Gang-Reduction and Youth Development program.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck defended the plan, despite those who say it has done little to curb violence in the city.
“Last year, we collected over 700 guns,” Garcetti said. “To date, we’ve collected more than 13,000 guns. It’s huge.”
The program works by gun owners driving up to one of two designated drop-off locations, and remaining in the vehicle as officers take unloaded, unwanted firearms from the trunk with no questions asked.
As in previous years, the compensation for turning in the firearms will be delivered in the form of gift cards.
“We will give a $100 gift card for a handgun, and for some assault-type weapons, we’ll give $200,” Chief Beck said.
Garcetti noted that the program is voluntary and is meant to have a positive purpose behind it.
“Look, we’re not saying that if you have a gun and you want a gun, you shouldn’t be able to keep it,” Garcetti said. “These are unwanted weapons, and those are the ones we often see being part of tragedies.”
The two city officials also stated that they believe the program has been effective in reducing gun violence.
“I think it does work; gun violence has been reduced,” Chief Beck said. “This is not the only reason, but it’s one of the reasons. We have reduced numbers of people shot since 2009 to last year by 40 percent. So that’s a huge number.”