"Over 1,000 Firearms Removed from Streets this Weekend"
LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Councilmembers Joe Busciano and Mitch Englander today announced that 1,172 firearms were collected during the 2013 Gun Buyback, bringing the total number of firearms removed from City streets during the Villaraigosa administration to 11,151.
In total, 516 handguns, 381 rifles, 226 shotguns, and 49 assault weapons were collected this weekend from the four Gun Buyback locations citywide.
"Like all of you, I was disappointed by Congress' inability to pass commonsense gun legislation, but we will not let inaction in Washington stop us from taking action here in Los Angeles to get guns off of our streets,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Thanks to my Gang Reduction and Youth Development Office, LAPD, and our community partners over 1,000 guns were removed from our streets this weekend alone. And thanks to the support our friends on City Council, the Gun Buyback program will continue beyond my term as Mayor.”
An initiative of the Mayor's Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) Office that began in 2009, the Gun Buyback program rewards the voluntary surrender of firearms while engaging the community towards a common goal of reducing gun violence.
“The Department is grateful for and encouraged by the ongoing support of this program from the Mayor’s Office and the people of Los Angeles who continue to turn in firearms at our collection events,” Chief Beck said. “Although the total scope of today’s success cannot be measured, the guns displayed here will never be used to harm innocent people. And for those who have lost their lives to gun violence, let this be a solemn remembrance that their sacrifices were not in vain and will never be forgotten.”
The 2013 Gun Buyback was made possible thanks to a council motion introduced by Councilmember Joe Busciano and seconded by Councilmember Mitch Englander, Chair of the Public Safety Committee. The motion funded the Gun Buyback program for the first time using General Fund dollars, rather than private donations as is typically the case. In total, $250,000 was contributed to the program toward the purchase of pre-paid gift cards.
In exchange for surrendering weapons, participants in the Gun Buyback receive a Ralphs pre-paid card. The cost per firearm is dependent on its type, up to $200 for assault weapons as specified by the State of California and up to $100 for handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The LAPD Gun Unit determines the type and classification of the firearm surrendered.
“As a former LAPD officer, I am aware of the importance of the Gun Buyback program,” Councilmember 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.”
“Since the Gun Buyback program began, over 11,000 firearms have been taken off the street, that’s 11,000 less opportunities for these dangerous firearms to fall into the wrong hands,” Councilmember Englander added.
The annual Citywide Gun Buyback includes a grassroots outreach campaign that works with gang prevention and intervention agencies, community and religious leaders, and the Los Angeles Police Department. The comprehensive outreach effort serves not only to encourage participation in neighborhoods suffering from high levels of gun violence, but also to educate communities about the risks and dangers of gun and gang violence.
The Gun Buyback is the beginning of the Summer Violence Reduction strategy which leads into the Summer Night Lights (SNL) program.