People lined up around the block in Los Angeles on Wednesday, some waiting hours to exchange their unwanted guns for grocery store gift cards as the city tries to get the weapons off the street. By lunchtime, they'd already collected more than the 1,673 guns that were exchanged last year, and the officials running the event had to get more gift cards. One guy showed up with 22 pistols in his trunk. The event usually takes place on Mother's Day, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa moved it up to the day after Christmas following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. "I'm bringing in a 9-millimeter handgun because I want to get it out of the house because I have teenage children," one woman told The Los Angeles Times. "I would hate for them to do what that guy in Connecticut did."
These type of events have been happening all over the country since the Sandy Hood shooting. Each one is different, but generally, firearms fetch between $50 and $100. In Los Angeles, they were offering up to $200 for assault rifles. It's not really about the money, though. As Villaraigosa explained ahead of his city's buyback program, it's also about taking action. "I think everybody was so traumatized," he said. "People said, 'I don't wait on the Congress, I'm tired of the endless debates about responsible gun control legislation, I want to do my part." As it were, one of the first guns collected at Wednesday was a Bushmaster XM-15, the same assault rifle that Adam Lanza used at Sandy Hook. Inevitably, though, as some people across the country were getting rid of their guns, plenty of others were getting brand new ones for Christmas.
View Gun Buyback Programs across the U.S. in a larger map
Map via Marketplace
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.