Rocket launchers turn up at L.A. gun buyback

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KGW Staff / CBS News

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM

LOS ANGELES -– Two rocket launches were turned in as part of Los Angeles’s annual gun buyback program this week, officials said.

The city of Los Angeles moved up its annual gun buyback program, originally scheduled for May, to Wednesday following the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The buyback event is hosted by the Los Angeles Police Department and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development Program.

Villaraigosa has credited the gun buyback program, which allows residents to turn in weapons with “no questions asked,”with getting close to 8,000 firearms off the streets.

Since the inception of the program in 2009, there has been a 39 percent drop in gang crimes and 33 percent drop in shots fired calls, translating into 241 fewer people shot in the city, according to the mayor’s office.

Residents can anonymously turn in their firearms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 26 at two locations: Los Angeles Sports Arena, Parking Lot 6, at 3939 South Figueroa Street and Van Nuys Masonic Temple at 14750 Sherman Way.

Officials ask that the guns are transported unloaded and in the trunk of a vehicle.

The city is offering up to $100 Ralph’s gift cards for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 gift cards for California-classified assault weapons.

The city netted 1,673 firearms, a four-year low, at the buyback program last May. Authorities recovered 53 assault weapons, 791 handguns, 527 rifles, 302 shotguns and one anti-tank rocket launcher. Police also apprehended a pair of pocket pistols worth an estimated $2,000 and an illegal belt-buckle pistol.

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