- (Photo: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)
A gun buyback program in Los Angeles has produced the most firearms ever for this type of event in the city, and has even included two rocket launchers.
On Wednesday, the weapons were collected at two separate locations in Los Angeles, after the gun buyback event, which usually takes place on Mother's Day, was moved to this week in response to the tragedy that hit Newtown, Conn.
Police officials said the daylong event produced a record total of 2,037 firearms, which was almost 400 more guns collected than the last gun buyback program earlier this year.
Los Angeles Police Department offered people gift cards to supermarket chain Ralphs in order to encourage people to drop-off their guns.
During the event the LAPD recovered; two rocket launchers, 75 assault weapons, 901 handguns, 698 rifles and 363 shotguns. The weapons will be melted down, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
"Those are weapons of war, weapons of death … these are not hunting guns. These are not target guns. These are made to put high-velocity, extremely deadly, long-range rounds downrange as quickly as possible, and they have no place in our great city," Beck said during a press conference.
More than two-thirds of individuals who brought in guns told officials in an anonymous survey that they felt safer with the guns off the street.
"As you can see to my right and left, these weren't just guns that weren't functioning anymore," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference. "These were serious guns, semiautomatic weapons, guns that have no place on the streets of Los Angeles or any other city."
There has been a national push for stricter gun laws in the wake of the tragedy that struck Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 in which 20 students and six teachers were brutally murdered.