When was the last time you bought your groceries with firearms in a way that wouldn’t get you arrested?
That’s what happened in Los Angeles with their one-day buyback “groceries for guns” program. The day after Christmas, 2,037 firearms were collected in exchange for gift cards for free groceries. This promotion was in response to the Newtown massacre in Connecticut, in an effort to reduce the number of guns on the streets.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office said the weapons collected included 698 rifles, 901 handguns, 363 shotguns and 75 assault weapons. Cars and people lined up at two locations to hand in their firearms in exchange for gift cards valued at up to $200. The anonymous buyback program allowed weapons to be turned in with no questions asked.
The buyback is usually held in May, but recent events gave the incentive to do it earlier, says the Wall Street Journal.
“All of us are still mourning the tragedy at Newtown, [Connecticut]. So many young innocent children were mass-murdered in the way that they were, and now the assassination of two firefighters…just breaks the heart of so many of us, particularly in this holiday season.”
The results were announced at a news conference held on Thursday to warn New Years party-goers against firing weapons into the air in celebration or reverence. Authorities made it clear that anyone firing a gun into the air on New Year’s Eve faces jail time and a fine of up to $10,000, according to KTLA.com.
Police will check the firearms recovered to see if they were stolen. If so, authorities will attempt to return them to their rightful owners. Otherwise, the guns are scheduled to be destroyed.