The LAPDâ€™s 3rd annual gunback program â€“ an exchange of weapons for grocery gift cards, no IDS or questions asked â€“ netted 1,600 firearms, including 60 assault weapons on Wednesday. Assault rifles got a $200 gift card from Ralphs, handguns got $100. But they ran out of their more than $150,000 worth of cards by the end of day leaving on lines of people frustrated. The LAPD will do another buyback in May.
KABC News reports that critics call the program a failure because â€śit gives people free money for old weapons that don’t work.â€ť But the LAPD disagrees. “From a little tiny .22 pistol that an elderly woman turned in that was her mother’s who passed away to brand new-appearing AK-47s, parts for AR-15s, shotguns, rifles,” every donation makes a difference, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said.
The LAPD has collected 8,000 guns since 2009, with officials noting that violent crimes have also gone down by 33 percent in the last four years. The recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which killed 20 children and 6 adults, motivated many to surrender their guns. “I decided to give it up because of the tragedy back east in Connecticut,” said Hefley Gulley of Baldwin Hill. “It was very sad so I decided to give it up.”