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L.A. Buys Back More than 2,000 Guns, But Does it Help?

The NRA wants guns in schools to stopping school shootings. The city of Los Angeles just wants less guns in general.

Two weeks after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, several municipalities, including Los Angeles, started a gun buyback event. The goal is to reduce the number of guns in circulation. In exchange for each recovered gun, the city will give $100 to $200 gift cards. In hopes that more residents will be encouraged to surrender some of their firearms, there is a no-questions-asked rule set in place.

As of today, police officials revealed in a press conference that they have collected 2,037 guns so far, including 901 handguns, 698 rifles, and 363 shotguns. Seventy-five of the firearms were assault weapons; one of which was a camouflage Bushmaster AR-15. This surpasses last year’s collection of 1,673 by nearly 400.

While several other cities are also hosting gun buybacks, Los Angeles is the largest city to do so thus far. A suburb of Chicago, Evanston, Illinois, has collected 45 guns in exchange for cash. Chicago had a gun buyback this past June, collecting 5,500 guns. The windy city is currently one of the most violent cities in the US.

In Opa-Locke, Florida, 100 guns were collected. The small city outside of Miami hosted a similar event in June, but only collected half the amount they have since this event post-Sandy Hook. Bridgeport, Connecticut—just 30 miles outside of Newtown—is planning its own buyback event for this Saturday. They plan to repeat the event every Saturday in January.

The discussion of gun buyback programs is going beyond city-level government and making its way into the House of Representatives. Forty-one Democratic members are calling for a federal buyback.

US Reps Gerald Connolly of Virginia and Ted Deutch of Florida wrote to House Speaker John Boehner (R) and majority leader Nancy Pelosi (D), asking for $200 million in funding for a program that would remove “as many as 1 million guns from our streets” (as reported by

Since the Sandy Hooks massacre, citizens and state and federal representatives have demanded action and change in order to prevent such horrible occurrences from happening again.

A difference in opinion amongst groups would be an understatement. Ideas for preventing another Sandy Hook range from arming teachers with guns to banning assault semi-automatic rifles.

Connolly’s and Deutch’s letter states that a gun buyback program is a sensible start in reducing crime. However, some members within the crime prevention community believe that buyback programs rarely reduce homicides.

According to the National Academy of Sciences’ 2004 report, many guns turned in are either old or broken. Those who participate in gun buybacks are usually people who aren’t gun enthusiasts or have a need for guns. Criminals that use guns are unlikely to turn in their firearms.

Ultimately, most agree that even if a gun buyback doesn’t help, it certainly can’t hurt. The less there are in homes, the less likely accidental shootings can occur. Additionally, with fewer guns in homes, there would be fewer stolen guns. Between 2005 and 2010, 1.4 million guns were stolen.

Do you believe a gun buyback program is the answer? Is it a start to gun control or will it just be a waste of time, money, and resources?


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