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Gun buyback program collects 600 weapons in first hour

14 May

Gun buyback 2012

More than 600 weapons were turned in during the first hour of a gun buyback program held over the weekend at six locations in Los Angeles.

This year’s event was held on Mother’s Day weekend, which officials hoped would spur more people to turn in their weapons.

“We do it on Mother’s Day because we think mothers have a strong influence on families and will get them to turn in their unwanted guns,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck told KTLA-TV Channel 5.

More than 600 weapons were turned in during just the first hour, according to LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman, and authorities were hoping to net about 2,000 weapons.

The gun buyback program allows people to surrender their firearms and ammunition with no questions asked. In exchange, they receive a Ralphs or Visa prepaid card for varying amounts depending on the gun type — up to $200 for assault weapons and up to $100 for handguns, rifles and shotguns.

Since the program was launched, over 6,200 guns have been taken off the streets and gun violence has been reduced 20%, Beck said.Last year, the city collected 953 handguns, 688 rifles, 330 shotguns and 91 assault weapons. An anti-tank rocket launcher was also turned in.

The biggest number was collected in 2010, when more than 2,500 guns were turned in.

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