Hundreds Of Guns Turned In: No Questions Asked

Should Riverside County consider a gun buyback program?

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Over this past weekend, Los Angeles city officials collected 817 firearms during a weekend gun buyback program that allowed people to turn in weapons -- no questions asked -- in exchange for Ralphs gift cards.

Should Riverside County -- or maybe your local city -- consider following the trend?

According to the City of Los Angeles mayor's office, 387 handguns were among the weapons turned in during Saturday's event, along with 131 shotguns and 31 assault weapons.

"The buybacks are about taking guns off the street where they could fall into the hands of criminals or our children," Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Saturday's effort featured drop-off locations in Van Nuys, Wilmington and Elysian Park. People who surrendered assault weapons were given a $200 grocery card, while other weapons were exchanged for $100 cards.

Since the gun buyback program began in 2009, nearly 12,000 guns have been turned in, according to the mayor's office.

The effectiveness of gun buyback programs has been questioned by some critics. A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences titled "Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review" found that "the theory underlying gun buyback programs is badly flawed," noting that guns surrendered during such efforts are least likely to be used in criminal activities.

Officials with the mayor's office, however, insisted the program was beneficial, noting that an informal survey of people who took part in Saturday's effort found that nearly 60 percent of participants now have gun- free homes, and more than 90 percent felt their neighborhoods were now safer.

Los Angeles is not alone. In June, San Bernardino County conducted its first countywide gun-buyback program. People were able to turn in weapons in exchange for Stater Bros. gift cards.

In all, 1,424 weapons, including 23 assault weapons, were turned in during the San Bernardino County event and San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the guns were melted down and used to make reinforcing bars used in construction, according to a report from The Press-Enterprise.

A follow-up letter to the PE editor was sharply critical of the San Bernardino County gun buyback program, saying it was a waste of taxpayer money.

Still, other local jurisdictions seem to be jumping onto the gun buyback idea. In August, the Anaheim Police Department in Orange County conducted a program that netted 100 weapons.

The City of Coachella has conducted a program in the past, but few Riverside County cities have followed. A spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said the Coachella event was the only one in the county.

Should Riverside County consider a gun buyback program? What are the benefits and drawbacks of such programs? Share your thoughts below. --City News Service contributed to this report.

SA December 16, 2013 at 03:36 PM
I love our government wanting to unarm us ... Why?
kristin c December 16, 2013 at 03:46 PM
What do I think?? I think the sheep are systematically and blindly being led off a cliff, one by one. Hitler disarmed his entire country before waging war against them.
Cindy Petersen December 16, 2013 at 03:52 PM
john ryerson December 16, 2013 at 05:01 PM
making it easier for the globalist to roll in the new world order,the one world currency and the one world religion and don't tell me its a conspiracy all you have to do is get your bibles out and read Revelation.
SA December 16, 2013 at 05:56 PM
“THIS IS VOLUNTARY” … this is inducement to get free crap to turn over a weapon to empower the Left…
Dog December 16, 2013 at 07:09 PM
I'd bet 90% of the weapons turned in are broken or old single shot shotguns not worth anything...
Diana December 16, 2013 at 07:52 PM
What idiots!!!!!!!!!1
Kenny Smalley December 16, 2013 at 08:15 PM
I dont see a problem with this. It is their choice to turn in their guns. It makes no difference to me who wants to sell their guns for dimes on the dollar. Personally, I wouldn't sell my assault weapons for 200 dollars. I could easily get 1500 for them. It is a little fishy that they are doing this around Christmas when people need money the most...
Matt Johnson December 16, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Who paid for the gift cards? If it's my tax dollar, I am against this. If it was the retailers, I consider that to be against the law, as they are not licensed to conduct firearms business. Neither are the law enforcement agencies licensed.
Antonio December 16, 2013 at 11:02 PM
I see the paranoid gun nuts are out in full force. They see a government conspiracy in everything. Even when our government is trying to stem the senseless gun violence. They are just, well, a little or a lot weird. Don't waste your writing, they are un appeasible and unreasonable.
Peaches1960 December 17, 2013 at 11:03 AM
If you are stupid enough to turn your guns in, you were probably to stupid to own one anyway.
SA December 17, 2013 at 01:16 PM
@Lyn … we are gun nuts as we like to protect our family, hunt, target shoot or just a hobby to collect… This is not a conspiracy; it is simply taking guns out of the hands of citizens because the left thinks “guns are bad” who are guarded by armed men … Hmmmmm …. The government is buying the weapons from desperate people and Peaches is completely correct….
Josh December 17, 2013 at 01:19 PM
"No questions asked" seems like a great way to have incriminating evidence melt away. The real shame in this is that guns are history and many people actually have firearms that are worth a lot more than a bad of groceries. Govt takes advantage of those who are ignorant to this fact in order to make media headlines.
DB December 17, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Of they are one in the same Steve.....
Antonio December 17, 2013 at 03:29 PM
So if Peaches is correct then some people aren't suited to own guns, yet the 2nd Amendment guarantees that person the right to own a gun. Thus, the 2nd Amendment is flawed and needs to be fixed (amended) in order to protect the public from incompetent gun owners.
SA December 17, 2013 at 05:42 PM
@Lyn … Really the point was “if you are stupid enough to turnover your arm(s) you should not own any” … So the mindless cattle should not have to ability to shoot i.e. you
SA December 17, 2013 at 05:46 PM
@Steve … sorry call me slow but I did not pick up on the fact of ditching evidence …
Antonio December 17, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Not very logical arguments but I guess that's why you take the positions you do.
SA December 18, 2013 at 01:31 PM
@Lyn … The logic that I see curtailing from you is “If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball” … If you turn over your weapon you are weakening yourself, making yourself vulnerable to a predator i.e. the government… Why given them more power?
joe scalero December 18, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Newman from Seinfield? You're accusing someone of using two different identities to post??? The Patch has already verified that you and John Smith are the same person...quite the hypocrite...it's also confirmed you are a security guard at Lowes....now please go away and come back as a more friendly, 3rd alias.


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