Guns for groceries: Saturday is gun buyback day in Los Angeles

Handguns are thrown into trash bins for melting after a gun buyback. In the past the LAPD has recovered between 1,500 and 2,000 firearms each time.
Handguns are thrown into trash bins for melting after a gun buyback. In the past the LAPD has recovered between 1,500 and 2,000 firearms each time. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A week after the Isla Vista mass shooting, Los Angeles is moving to get more firearms off the streets using a gun buyback program.

RELATED: Isla Vista Shootings: UCSB mourns after deadly rampage

Under the buyback program, anyone can show up with any type of gun “and no questions asked they will be able to turn those firearms in,” said Anne Tremblay, who runs LA’s gun buyback program. She says the goal is to cut the number of weapons on the streets and in homes that might get misused. She says having the buyback event also gives people a place to go if they have had a gun around that they don’t want and need to get rid of. And as an incentive, in exchange for the firearm, people receive a $100 or $200 gift card to buy groceries.

Critics say the program is ineffective because they say the guns that get turned in often don’t work anyway. Tremblay acknowledged that. “Certainly there have been weapons turned in that were broken or inoperable," she said. "But we’ve also seen weapons that could have been used" or misused in a crime or gun accident. She points out that the program is "just one piece of a violence reduction program,” in the city of Los Angeles.

RELATED: LA County Sheriff Lee Baca on effectiveness of gun buyback programs

This is the fifth year the program has been in place. The city has retrieved 12,000 firearms in all. The LAPD melts them down.

Here are the gun turn-in locations from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday:

-- Los Angeles Sports Arena, 3939 S. Figueroa St., in central Los Angeles
-- Park and ride parking lot at 1300 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Wilmington
-- Parking lot at 2379 W. Washington Blvd. in West Los Angeles
-- Van Nuys Masonic Temple, 14750 Sherman Way

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