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Sheriff’s East L.A. Firearm Buy-Back at Belvedere Park: You Could Drive-Thru For the Gift Cards

[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]os Angeles Sheriff’s Department gun buy-back event in East L.A. on Saturday went like this: every five or 10 minutes, a person would drive up to a checkpoint, where deputies would remove the firearm from their vehicle while they look at the driver’s ID. Then the gun owner would drive up to another stop, get a gift card and some paperwork, and then drive away.

It was that simple. The sellers never even got out of their car. None stopped for an interview.

Deputies got 30 guns off the streets in the weekend “Gifts For Guns” program, the first in five years for the area. The event took place in a parking lot at Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles on Saturday, and was sponsored by the office of L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis.

“Those who turned in their guns stated that either they had no use for them, or feared the weapons could be stolen and used in violent crimes,” said Deputy Grace Medrano.

RELATED: ‘Ghost Guns’ ~ L.A. Gangs Are Making Their Own Untraceable Firearms

Animated gif and images by Philip Iglauer

The buybacks allow anyone to surrender weapons provided they also present some form of valid identification in exchange for gift cards, which were valued at $50, $100 and $200, depending on the type of weapon.

Lt. James Duran told L.A. Taco the ID requirement could have resulted in fewer guns being turned in compared to past events.

“This is the first one we’ve done here in about five years,” Duran said. “My understanding is that we got about 150 guns the last time we did it.”

Sheriff’s deputies collected a wide variety of weapons including an old pump-action .22 caliber rifle, semi-automatic pistols, and a derringer. Supervisor Solis said she was pleased with the result.

“I think it’s a good way of letting the community know that we really think it’s important to get rid of fire arms that aren’t really needed for any meaningful purpose,” Solis told L.A. Taco.

RELATED: Sheriff’s Deputies Profiled Thousands of Drivers on the 5 Freeway Through the Grapevine: Our Analysis

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