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Gift Cards in Exchange for Guns PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia, Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 02:16

2012 Gun Buyback is this Saturday in Mission Hills

ALEX GARCIA/SFVS

Firarms that were surrendered anonymously.

Despite an overall eight percent drop in violent crime so far this year in the City of Los Angeles, homicides are up nine percent through April. Authorities are hoping offering gift cards in exchange for guns in the fourth annual Gun Buyback program taking place this Saturday helps put cash in people's pockets and rid the city of weapons that could turn dangerous in the wrong hands.

"The Gun Buyback will allow individuals to surrender their firearms anonymously to law enforcement at 6 locations throughout the city. In exchange, an individual may receive a Ralphs or VISA prepaid gift card. Depending on the type of firearm surrendered, an individual may receive up to $100 for a handgun, shotgun or rifle, and up to $200 for assault weapons as classified in the State of California", indicated Guillermo Cespedes, head of the city's gang reduction program.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., people can turn in their pistols and rifles, or even assault weapons anonymously at six locations throughout the city, including one in Mission Hills.

Last year, more than 2,000 guns were taken off the streets through the effort. Police received 953 handguns, 688 rifles, 330 shotguns and 91 assault weapons. In total, more than 6,000 weapons have been collected during the past three years the event has taken place.

"In helping us remove over 6,000 dangerous weapons from our streets , the residents of this City helped to prevent the next tragic shooting in our community", Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said last year when announcing the results of the effort.

"The guns displayed here will never be used to harm innocent people. It is also a solemn remembrance of those victims' lives lost this year due to gun violence", the mayor continued.

Authorities are hoping fewer guns mean continued gains in the reduction of violent crime throughout Los Angeles. For several years now, the City has experienced a downward trend in violent crime that has made it safer than any time in the past four decades. Last year, the Los Angeles Police Department recorded 298 homicides in the City, one more than in 2010. Last year's figure represents a 38.9% drop in homicides from 2005 when there were 488 reported across the City. Gang crime was also down 15.2% last year (4964) as opposed to 2010 (5537).

Weapons

Anyone can turn in the weapons, no questions asked. Authorities will not be taking pictures of those coming to the collection sites, nor will they be taking license plate numbers or running ballistic tests on the guns turned in.

All weapons will be checked to make sure they haven't been reported lost. If so, they will be returned to their owners if possible. All other firearms will be destroyed by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The police simply asks that when you take weapons to the collection sites, they not be loaded and that you take them in your car's trunk while driving for safety.

These are the collection sites:

1. Facey Medical Building 11165 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Mission Hills

2. Frank Hotchkins Training Academy

1700 Stadium Way, Elysian Park

3. Park and Ride Parking Lot 1300 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Wilmington

4. Bethel AME Church 7900 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles;

5. Korean Evangelical Zion Church

2149 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles;

6. Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church

10435 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles.

For more information, call (877) 527-3247

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