“GIFTS FOR GUNS” SUCCESS
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and Los Angeles Police Department First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell held a press conference today, June 1, 2009, at the Sherman Block Sheriff’s Headquarters Building in Monterey Park. The Gifts for Guns program was developed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 2005 and provides a unique opportunity for area residents to safely surrender any firearm, anonymously and without question, to Sheriff’s personnel in exchange for a $100 gift card (for any handgun or rifle) or a $200 gift card (for an assault weapon). Last year, the Sheriff’s Department collected more than 3,000 guns, which were later destroyed. This program has been very successful and serves as a great means of taking weapons off the streets.
The Sheriff’s Department held a “Gifts for Guns” event at 21 drive-thru locations beginning on March 27, 2009 and ending on May 31, 2009. During this period, a total of 3,853 guns were collected. Of those, 110 were assault weapons, 1,735 were handguns, 1,400 were rifles and 608 were shotguns. Sheriff Baca said, “This effort could not have been accomplished without the support of the County Board of Supervisors ,as well as many businesses which included Ralph’s, Target, Best Buy, Von’s, Albertson’s and Stater Brothers.” A telling sign of the times is that the supermarket cards were the most popular.
Supervisor Yaroslavsky asked, “Is this program worth it? You can’t put a price on saving someone’s life. The cost of investigating a gun-related crime compared to the cost of a gift card; society wins on that occasion every time.”
Sheriff Baca stated that the next time the public would see these weapons would be when they are transformed into re-bar used for construction after being melted by TAMCO Steel in the annual “Project Isaiah” gun melt.
SHB-73A-09 X X X June 1, 2009