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L.A. Now Live: L.A.'s gun buyback hauls in hundreds of firearms

December 27, 2012 |  8:16 am

Hundreds of people sat in lines that stretched 200 cars long to turn in firearms in exchange for grocery store gift cards during L.A.'s gun buyback on Wednesday.

Times staff writer Wesley Lowery will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. Thursday to discuss L.A.'s gun buyback.

The final tally has not yet been released, but by 4 p.m. Wednesday -- with dozens of cars still waiting in line -- police said they had already surpassed the 1,673 mark set earlier in the year. The gun buyback is typically held annually in May, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa moved up the date of the next event in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

Cities across the nation, grasping for ways to react to a series of mass shootings this year, have organized gun buybacks to get weapons off the street.

Organizers and some participants credited collective outrage and anguish over the gun rampage in Newtown for the turnout. But motivations were often a bit more complicated, Lowery and staff writer Joe Mozingo reported.

"That young guy shot up all the kids and they blamed the mama because the mama had the weapons in the house," Valerie Butler said, in explaining why she was waiting in line two hours in South Los Angeles to get rid of an old handgun.