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Los Angeles Police Collect two ROCKET LAUNCHERS as Residents turn in 2,000 Weapons in Buyback Program

Los Angeles police expected to receive  hundreds if not thousands of handguns, rifles and shotguns when they held their  gun buyback on Wednesday.

But even hardened officers were surprised two  rocket launchers were handed in by the city’s residents.

The hefty weapons were among nearly 2,000  guns given up to police in exchange for $100 and $200 grocery store gift  cards.

According to Gawker, the  LAPD received 901 handguns, 698 rifles and 363 shotguns in the program, as well  as the two rocket launchers.

Rocket launcher: Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, left, shows off one of two rocket launchers turned in during the Los Angeles, California, gun buyback program, with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

However, Gawker quoted a police source as  saying that the guns were not that unusual, and that ‘we’ve had them in the  past.’

According to police, such weapons are  generally antiques picked up by collectors or passed down by family  members.

The Los Angeles buyback program was aimed at  getting weapons off the streets in the wake of the devastating  shooting at  Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on  December 14.

Lines of cars and people stretched around the  block in the first hours of the exchange on Wednesday morning to take advantage  of the guns-for-groceries deal.

Police officers filled bins with a variety of  rifles and handguns outside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and the Van  Nuys Masonic Temple.

Guns: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, second from left, look over the weapons handed in

Police reported netting nearly 500  fire arms  and 31 assault weapons between both LA locations in the first  few hours of the  buyback.

‘No ID checks, we’re not taking down license  plates, people drive up, they  have a gun in their trunk, we have one of our gun  experts take that gun  out, make sure it’s safe, they walk over, get a gift  card, and away they go,’ Police Cmdr  Andrew Smith told CBS Los  Angeles on Wednesday.

‘It’s very quick and painless.’

Handguns, rifles and shotguns were swapped  for $100 Ralphs grocery store gift cards while assault weapons earned a $200  card.

Officials were mindful of both the  Newtown  massacre, in which Adam Lanza, 20, shot dead his mother then  stormed an  elementary school, killing 20 students and six staff in a  barrage of  bullets.

Success: Hand guns, pictured, were left by their owners in a trash bin at the LA gun buyback on Wednesday

They were also thinking of a gunman’s ambush  that killed two firefighters in Webster, N.Y. on Christmas Eve.

‘All of us are still mourning the  tragedy at  Newtown, Connecticut,’ said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

‘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  program was originally scheduled for May but in the wake of the December 14th  shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary, Mr Villaraigosa decided to do it  now.

The last buyback program netted about 1,700  guns.

Since the program’s creation in 2009, there  has been a 39 per cent drop in gang crimes and 22 per cent drop in calls  reporting shots being fired according to police.

Los Angeles resident Commorah Fisher said she  participated in the program to ensure her weapons didn’t get into the wrong  hands.

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Posted by on December 28, 2012. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.