LA's gun buyback: rocket launcher, pocket pistols turned into LAPD

Alice Walton/KPCC

Police Chief Charlie Beck looks at the 1,673 weapons collected during the city's fourth annual gun buyback program.

A rocket launcher and 52 other assault weapons were among the more than 1,650 firearms voluntarily turned into the Los Angeles Police Department this weekend as part of the city’s gun buyback program, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today.

In total, 1,673 weapons were collected:

  • 791 handguns

  • 527 rifles

  • 302 shotguns

  • 53 assault weapons
  • In addition to the rocket launcher, police collected pocket pistols, a belt buckle with a pistol, and an assault weapon with a silencer.

    “What are assault weapons like these doing on the streets of Los Angeles?” Villaraigosa said at a news conference outside of LAPD headquarters. “They’re not hunting ducks with this stuff.”

    All of the weapons will be shredded and used by artist Victor Hugo to create sculptures. Angelenos who turned in an assault weapon received $200 on either a Ralphs or a Visa card. All of the other firearms were worth $100 in certificates. Corporate sponsors covered the $200,000 cost of the program, the mayor said.

    In the last four years, 7,942 firearms have been turned into the city’s gun buyback program, police Chief Charlie Beck said. Another 3 million guns remain in the city.

    “This is a small percentage of that, but these are unwanted guns,” Beck said. “These are guns that people are willing to exchange for groceries.”

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