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.
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.
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.
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.