Los Angeles officials are calling last weekend's gun buyback a success after they received more than 700 guns. The LAPD event brought in all sorts of weapons, including handguns, rifles, shotguns and assault rifles.
Those who surrendered weapons at the event — which they could do anonymously and without fear of getting in trouble — received Target gift cards worth $100 to $200.
"Certainly in South L.A. I feel that gun violence is the No. 1 public health issue," Councilman Curren Price said at a press conference Friday morning. Price represents District 9, which covers most of South Los Angeles and parts of downtown L.A. "Buyback programs like this really underscore the importance of getting guns off the street. It's just amazing the number of weapons that are turned in."
The event was put on with the help of Gun By Gun, an organization that uses crowdsourcing to fund gun buybacks. Founder Ian Johnstone said 95 individuals, all of whom had been affected by gun violence, contributed a combined total of $10,000 to make this buyback possible.
"We started Gun By Gun because we believe we can't keep waiting for people in Washington D.C. to take action about guns and we need to get started at a local level," he said. When Johnstone was 10, his father was shot and killed during an attempted robbery.
Asked if gun buybacks are a success, LAPD chief Charlie Beck said he believes they've helped reduce the number of shootings and murders in the city.
"It isn't just the guns that we get off the streets," Beck said, "it's the statement that we make as a people, as Angelenos, that one gun, one act of gun violence is too many."
Beck said 1,600 people were shot in the city of L.A. in 2008 — the year the city began holding gun buybacks. That same year, almost 400 people died of homicide, most of them by gun violence, according to Beck.
With the 758 guns surrendered at this buyback, the LAPD has recovered more than 2,000 guns this year.