In an effort to minimize violence, LA County authorities offered money in exchange for handguns or rifles; 142 guns collected
In an effort to reduce violence in South Los Angeles County, authorities purchased 142 guns from anyone who voluntarily and unquestioningly turned in their handguns or rifles.
Residents who turned in their guns at Simms Park in the city of Bellflower did so completely anonymously and without being asked where or why they had their guns.
In total, authorities repurchased 142 guns, but in exchange they gave out gift cards of $50 for guns that didn’t work, $100 for guns that did work, $200 for ghost guns, and $300 for assault rifles.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, the guns that are collected are taken for record-keeping to their offices and then taken to be shredded at a metal smelter.
Not only were there residents of Bellflower, but also people from nearby cities in Los Angeles County, and even from the city of San Diego.
Of the total number of guns collected, four were so-called ghost guns. A type of gun that has no serial number and cannot be traced.
Residents had the guns ready in their trunks when they arrived at the park; the deputies would then go to the trunk from where they took them, but not before checking to make sure they were not loaded.
After the weapons were registered by the marshals, an agent would take the gift card with the appropriate price to the resident, and so more than a hundred vehicles passed by handing over their pistols or rifles.
Almost an hour and a half before the gun buyback event was to begin, city residents were ready to turn in guns they no longer wanted.
The line of vehicles was such that they had to line up from inside Simms Park to outside on the street.
When authorities realized the line was so long, Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department decided to start the event earlier than planned.
Los Angeles County Undersheriff Myron Johnson, Bellflower Mayor Sonny Santa Ines and Bellflower Councilman Victor Sanchez accompanied Hahn to the official announcement.
“We know all too well the pain that gun violence has caused in our communities,” Hahn said. “We need to use every strategy at our disposal to prevent gun violence and these buybacks are important.”
The supervisor stressed that too often guns are stolen and used to commit violent crimes, harm innocent people and law enforcement.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to responsibly remove unwanted guns from their homes and help keep their families and communities safe.”
Mayor Santa Inés clarified that he did not want the community to think that people’s guns are being taken away.
“This is voluntary and we are giving gift cards,” the mayor explained.