Gun owners Saturday will have the opportunity to take part in Los Angeles’ anonymous gun buyback program to help get firearms off the city’s streets amid an increase in gun violence and homicides during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual program will take from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and gun owners can bring their unwanted firearms to the Van Nuys Masonic Building Association, at 14750 Sherman Way, or the Volunteers of America Los Angeles, at 5200 S. Central Ave., in South Los Angeles.
Councilman Curren Price, who represents parts of South Los Angeles in District 9, urged his constituents Thursday to turn in their unwanted guns and spread the word about the event.
“Today, we’re asking for your help. As one Angeleno to another, one thing you can do to reduce crime and create a safer community is to join me and our community partners…in promoting an anonymous gun buyback event this Saturday,” he said.
“If you or someone you know has a firearm that you want to turn in, please bring it to South L.A. Volunteers of America location, no questions asked.”
The program is completely anonymous and gun owners will not be asked any questions about their firearms.
Los Angeles Police Department personnel will assign a value to the firearm depending on the weapon’s condition. The owners will receive up to $100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles and up to $200 for assault weapons.
Price added that he believed participating in the event would come with another reward: “a sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with knowing that you played an important role in getting guns off the streets.”
Los Angeles Police Department Newton Division Capt. Alex Baez said his division has recovered 157 firearms this year, compared to just over 60 at this time last year. Of those guns, 28 were ghost guns and 97 were recovered during traffic stops.
“After you’re hearing these staggering numbers, my hope is that during this Saturday’s anonymous gun buyback event, many people would decide to participate and understand that we all play a part in the reduction of gun violence.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti also urged Angelenos to participate in the event in a year that his been marked by uncertainty and increased violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s more guns and more ammunition that’s been purchased in 2020 than in a long time, but you can create a safer city by joining me at our annual anonymous gun buyback,” he said during his COVID-19 briefing on Monday afternoon.
Participants should transport their firearms unloaded and in the trunk of their vehicle. The program is organized by the Mayor’s Office Gang Reduction and Youth Department, and more information is available at lagryd.org.
The effectiveness of gun buyback programs in reducing crime has been questioned by some critics.
A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences 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 report found that guns that are typically surrendered in buyback programs are those that are least likely to be used in criminal activities, such as guns that are old or malfunctioning.
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