Thousands Of L.A. Citizens Choose Groceries Over Handguns

Written by Hayes Brown

Thousands of Los Angeles’ citizens lined parking lots Wednesday in a chance to exchange their guns for groceries in a city-organized buyback program. The event, normally an annual Mother’s Day event, was pushed up to Wednesday by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT.

City officials offered up to $100 in gift cards to a local grocery chain for rifles, handguns, and shotguns, with assault weapons fetching more, up to $200 in cards. Despite moving the date, turnout was extremely high, with the two parking lots where the buybacks took place finding themselves overcrowded at times by eager sellers. In fact, the city found itself surpassing last year’s total of 1,673 guns by yesterday afternoon:

Many came bearing more than one gun. They pulled 22 pistols from the trunk of one white Honda, a haul that earned the driver $1,000.

Two men in a pickup truck with two children in the back seat handed over a rifle, a pistol and a MAC-12, altered with a silencer.

While the majority of the guns retrieved were handguns and other small-scale weapons, at least “a few dozen” assault weapons were taken off the streets as well. One of the first guns purchased in the buyback was a Bushmaster rifle of the same model as those used in the Conneticut shooting and a planned attack in New York where two firefighters were targeted and killed.

Since its inauguration in 2009, the gun buyback program has purchased over 8,000 guns from L.A. citizens, according to Mayor Villaraigosa. While gun buyback programs are not the most effective way to lower gun violence, they do reduce the supply of firearms in a community. Several other communities will be running their own in the near future, including Newtown’s neighboring city Bridgeport.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Photo: Antonio Villaraigosa/flickr


Natasha Salgado
Past Member 5 years ago

A very grand idea!!!! Glad to see people taking advantage. Thanks.

Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

Now, this is a clever idea.................thanks!

Janet F.
Janet F5 years ago

@Angela R...You have your facts wrong...the first report said it was left in the car, however as the story unfolded it was revealed that it was in fact the bushmaster that was used.

Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore5 years ago

For Christ's sake, THE BUSHMASTER RIFLE WAS LEFT IN ADAM LANZA'S CAR AND NEVER FRAKKING USED! GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT! That said, this buyback is an extremely GOOD idea. Wish we had something like this in Belleville, Illinois!

Bill and Katie D.

One of the greatest things done!
Thank You

Bill and Katie D.

Maybe this should be done more often!
Thank You

Wanda B.
Wanda Bagram5 years ago

@Jim N.- Obviously you are a person who would live in utter happiness with chains around your neck and calling someone Master. Life is not so dear or so sweet to be purchased at the price of the chains of slavery. Thanks to people with my mentality, namely the founding fathers, weak individuals such as yourself have the freedom to express your weakness.

Your fear is not shared by each and every American.

Jim N.
James N5 years ago

Wanda plans on taking on an Abrams tank and an Apache helicopter with her .22. Good luck with that, Wanda.

We're gonna "wanda" what that red smudge on the sidewalk is.

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

Thanks for this important article.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

Look, there's 27 countries in the European Union and about 50 in the whole of Europe (with more than 731 million inhabitants). Most of these countries have strict gun laws. It means that the police are the only ones carrying weapons in public, that hunters, with a license can own weapons and that athletes competing in gun-related competitions can own guns.
The European population is more than double the one in the US and there are still less gun-related deaths in these countries than in the US.
As an interesting fact, Sweden, with a population of about 9,500,000 has more guns per capita than the US, but only a fraction of the gun related deaths. Go figure this one out, NRA-members!