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Los Angeles gun buyback program gets 2,037 guns in exchange for gift cards

Gun Buyback - 4

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

TEC-9 handguns, some modified into fully automatic weapons, were recovered. The LAPD also held gun buybacks on Wednesday in South L.A. at the LA Memorial Sports Arena.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Officer Michael Lewis receives three rifles at the Van Nuys Masonic Temple. The event, which usually happens in May for Mother's Day, was moved to December in light of the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Handguns are thrown into trash bins for melting. Wednesday's event was the fifth-ever buyback. In the past the LAPD has recovered between 1,500 and 2,000 firearms each time.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A MAC-12, a blowback-operated machine pistol, with a silencer is turned in at the gun buyback event on Wednesday.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Sgt. Ishmail receives a TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun. The LAPD recovered a range of assault weapons, including M-16's, Uzi's, and MAC-11's, among others.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

An undercover officer double checks that a gun is unloaded. Officers check weapons in a bin of sand as a precaution.

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Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Detective Rick Tompkins of the Gun Unit puts garbage cans of rifles into a truck. The guns will be melted later this week, and used as rebar.

LAPD's latest gun buyback netted 2,037 firearms, hundreds more than a similar event earlier this year.

In total, 901 handguns, 698 rifles, 363 shotguns and 75 assault weapons were collected Wednesday from locations in South Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Since 2009, the program has collected 9,979 weapons.

"For too long, dangerous weapons have contributed to countless unnecessary tragedies and deaths," Mayor Villaraigosa said in a statement. "This Citywide Gun Buyback effort takes dangerous weapons off our streets and rewards Angelenos who voluntarily surrender their firearms, making our communities safer for us all."

RELATED: UPDATE: Los Angeles offers groceries for guns in annual buyback program

Participants were given a Ralph's pre-paid gift card. The gift amount was determined by the type of gun turned in. Assault weapons got up to $200, with up to $100 for handguns, rifles, and shotguns.  

The gun buyback had been planned for May, but was held earlier in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn.

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