Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Los Angeles police collect 1,500 guns in buyback
California » People looking for ways to reduce senseless killings.
First Published Dec 27 2012 05:09 pm • Last Updated Dec 27 2012 05:37 pm

Los Angeles • Looking to take weapons off the streets, Los Angeles police collected more than 1,500 firearms on Wednesday at city-sponsored gun buybacks in Van Nuys and South Los Angeles.

The buybacks have been held on Mother’s Day since 2009. But on the day of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and asked for one this month, Beck said.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The school shooting, which has focused new attention nationwide on the gun-control issue, was on the minds of some of those who turned in weapons Wednesday.

"I’ve got a 5-year-old grandson," said Lee Bramer of Santa Clarita, who turned in a .22-caliber handgun he’d gotten after his mother-in-law’s estate sale. "I wouldn’t want to see anything like that happen out here."

Villaraigosa said people in L.A. and across the country have been asking what they can do to cut the number of senseless killings.

"They’re doing this because they want to make a difference," he said of those turning in guns.

Villaraigosa called for federal legislation to ban the sale of some weapons and high-capacity magazines. He said the nation also needs universal background checks for gun buyers and a comprehensive list of the mentally ill.

But in the meantime, he said, L.A. can help get at least some dangerous weapons off the streets.

During the buybacks at the Coliseum and the Van Nuys Masonic Center, weapons were collected with no questions asked or information collected from those turning them in. Police do check the weapons later to see if they were stolen, and if so they attempt to return them to their rightful owners. Otherwise they are destroyed. People turning in guns get gift certificates for Ralphs grocery stores of $100 for most handguns and shotguns, $200 for assault weapons and a lesser amount for nonworking guns.

Not everyone was on board with the idea. In Van Nuys, a few protesters stood on the streets in the morning holding signs urging people not to turn in guns.

story continues below
story continues below

One, Bruce Boyer, yelled at waiting drivers that they were supporting "the regime" by turning in guns.

Boyer, who calls himself the "chief instigator" of the local pro-gun group Sons of Liberty L.A., said the event is "a fraud" meant to convince the public that police are making the streets safer.

Instead of urging law-abiding citizens to turn guns in, Boyer said, police should encourage them to get more guns to protect themselves.

Boyer is also the owner of Lone Star security company in the San Fernando Valley and is perhaps best known for fighting with the city for his right to place his company’s mobile billboards on Valley streets.

A red, white and blue sign that Boyer’s group had placed on Sherman Way in the morning, which drivers had to pass to enter, read: "Get $$ for your gun. We buy your gun to donate it to a woman in danger. An armed woman will not be a victim."

Sons of Liberty L.A. doesn’t buy guns itself, but refers people to licensed shops in Glendale and Simi Valley, Boyer said.

Many of the weapons turned in at the two events were family heirlooms. But between the two locations, there were more than 50 guns that police referred to as "assault rifles," a term that has drawn criticism because its meaning is subjective.

Doug Johnson, an undercover LAPD gang and narcotics officer at the Van Nuys event, said that included two fully automatic TEC-9s, a common gun for gang members, along with an AK-47 and a Bushmaster rifle, the same brand used in the Connecticut school massacre on Dec. 14.

Danny Reyes of West L.A. said he turned in two handguns for his brother, who believed they might be illegal and was nervous about dealing with the police.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.