Guns may be mothers' least favorite household item. For some, their Mother's Day gift this year was having that item removed from the house.
Los Angeles held its fourth gun buyback program on Saturday and collected 1,650 firearms from across the city, according to a statement from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office. The total is just under the 2,000 weapons the city had said it hoped to collect.
Villaraigosa explained on his Facebook page why the event was held on Mother's Day weekend this year. "[W]e chose this day for the Gun Buyback Program because too many mothers lose their children due to gun violence," he wrote. "This is our opportunity to make a real difference for our children, our families, and our future."
The gun buyback program allows people to turn in their firearms and ammunition with no questions asked. In exchange, they receive a Ralphs or Visa prepaid card for amounts based on the value of the gun. Up to $200 was granted for assault weapons and up to $100 for handguns, rifles and shotguns.
Critics of the program say that because police don't do ballistic checks on all the weapons, weapons used in crimes go unnoticed, ABC reports. However, advocates such as Ruett Foster, who can be seen in the video above holding a picture of his 7-year-old son, who was shot at a park in LA, believe that granting amnesty is worth it in order to save lives.
In fact, according to Police Chief Charlie Beck, gun violence has been reduced by 20% since the program was launched, the Los Angeles Times reports, although there may have been other factors involved in the reduction.
On Saturday, 791 handguns, 527 rifles, 302 shotguns, and 53 assault weapons were collected at the program's six city-wide locations. Over four years, the program has collected 7,942 guns.
“You’re not hunting ducks with this stuff,” Villaraigosa said Saturday. “Too often, these weapons are used to hunt and shoot down people -- and that is why we are here today.”