LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A gun buyback event hastily planned for next week in response to the elementary-school shooting in Connecticut will be held at two locations–the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Van Nuys Masonic Temple, city officials announced today.
Los Angeles Police Department officials will be on hand at both locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 26 to accept weapons. A shorter-than-usual, 10-day planning window required the city to offer only the two drop-off sites rather than the usual six, according to Vicki Curry of the mayor’s office.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Monday that he was accelerating the buyback program from its regular time in May in response to last week’s shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 students and six adults dead, along with the gunman.
“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.”
Per the usual buyback program, gun owners will be able to donate weapons anonymously, “no questions asked,” Villaraigosa stressed Monday. People who trade in automatic weapons will receive a $200 Ralphs grocery store gift card.
Handguns, rifles and shotguns can be traded in for $100 gift cards. The city’s fourth annual Gun Buyback Program in May netted 1,673 firearms, a four-year low. Fifty-three assault weapons were among the cache.
The haul also included 791 handguns, 527 rifles, 302 shotguns and one anti-tank rocket launcher. Also recovered were a pair of pocket pistols worth an estimated $2,000 and an illegal belt-buckle pistol.
Police Chief Charlie Beck has said gun buybacks are one tool among many to prevent gun violence. Gun violence declined by nearly 20 percent since the city started the program in 2009, Beck said during a May news conference to announce the results of the most recent buyback event.
“This is an effective method. I absolutely endorse it,” Beck said at the time.
The specific locations for the Dec. 26 gun buyback event are: Los Angeles Sports Arena, Parking Lot 6, 3939 South Figueroa St. and Van Nuys Masonic Temple, 14750 Sherman Way.
Some experts have questioned the ability of gun buyback programs to counter violence. A 2004 study by The National Academy of Sciences concluded that the theory behind the programs “is badly flawed and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs.”
The study found that guns typically surrendered in the programs are generally unlikely to be used in criminal activities. Researchers also noted that people who turn in weapons can easily obtain replacements, meaning there is generally no significant reduction in the number of guns on the streets.
They also found that the odds of a particular gun being used in a criminal act is 1 in 10,000, while the typical buyback event yields only around 1,000 weapons.