Gun buybacks are nothing new. For years, local law enforcement agencies have hosted events that entice gun owners to trade in their (sometimes illegal) sidearms in exchange for cash or gift cards, no questions asked, in an effort to get illegally owned guns off the street.
Typically, you would think of a few handguns being turned in. Some rifles and shotguns would pop up, sure, and it really shouldn’t be a surprise to see a few assault weapons turned in.
But anti-tank weaponry? That’s another story.
Believe it or not, a recent Los Angeles gun buyback brought in a military-style rocket launcher — thankfully not loaded — among over 1,600 other weapons.
Gun owners were offered gift cards from Ralphs or Visa, worth $100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and $200 for assault weapons.
With weapons like that, practicality is obviously not a concern, noted L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“You’re not hunting ducks with this stuff,” Villaraigosa told the Los Angeles Times. “Too often, these weapons are used to hunt and shoot down people – and that is why we are here today.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck reiterated the purpose of the program is to bring in illegal or unwanted guns. He said while he has “no problem” with legal and responsible gun ownership, weapons that fall outside the realm are the most likely to cause problems.
“Your homes are safer without unwanted guns,” Beck said.
What’s your opinion of gun buybacks?