Long lines formed Wednesday as Los Angeles gun owners turned in weapons for up to $200 worth of groceries, in a gun buyback event brought forward after the Connecticut school shooting.
Authorities promised there would be no questions asked at the drive-thru style event, where owners handed over weapons including assault rifles and Uzis directly from their cars, in exchange for grocery store gift cards.
But a couple of pro-gun activists also turned out to protest against the Gun Buyback Program organised in traditionally liberal Los Angeles, trying to dissuade owners from giving in weapons to be destroyed.
Sergeant Rudy Lopez of the LA Police Department (LAPD) told AFP the event was going well compared to previous years.
“It’s looking very positive. A lot of people are waiting an hour and a half (in line),” he said.
“People want to do something to do their part to get more guns off the streets,” he added.
Lopez said police would check the weapons handed in, to make sure they are not reported as stolen or lost, and hand them back to their rightful owners if they are. All other weapons were due to be melted, he said.
The fact that police were asking no questions was a key incentive. “See that? That’s a silencer,” said Lopez, pointing an assault weapon. “That’s illegal. We didn’t say anything.”