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Los Angeles' gun buyback event to be held today

December 26, 2012 |  6:46 am

The city of Los Angeles is holding its annual gun buyback event at two locations Wednesday in an event that was moved up several months in response to the deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

LAPD officials are to be on hand to take back firearms at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The guns can be turned in anonymously, with no questions asked, officials said.

The city is offering up to $100 in Ralphs gift cards for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 in gift cards for assault weapons.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa created the gun buyback program in 2009. So far, it is credited with getting close to 8,000 firearms off the streets.

Last May, police collected 1,673 firearms, including 53 assault weapons, 791 handguns, 302 shotguns and one anti-tank rocket launcher.

Villaraigosa announced last week that the gun buyback, usually held in the spring, would be moved up to give Angelenos a chance to take "concrete action" after the Newtown shooting, in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself.

"Too often we wake up with another headline that reminds us we are too late," Villaraigosa said at a news conference last week.

"In Los Angeles, we believe we should stand together" to prevent similar incidents, he added.

A flier for the buyback asked that all weapons be unloaded and transported in vehicle trunks. The L.A. Sports Arena is at 3939 South Figueroa St.; the Van Nuys Masonic Temple at 14750 Sherman Way.

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-- From a Times staff writer

Photo: An array of handguns, rifles, shotguns and assault weapons collected during a Los Angeles gun buyback in May. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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