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Gun buybacks increase in SoCal

Dec. 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Officials in Southern California said they were increasing gun buyback programs after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a buyback day scheduled for May was being moved up to next Wednesday to give citizens a chance to take "concrete action" in response to the massacre, in which 20 children and six adult staffers at the school were killed.

"Too often we wake up with another headline that reminds us we are too late," Villaraigosa said. "In Los Angeles, we believe we should stand together."

The Los Angeles Times said a buyback day in San Diego Friday drew a large crowd of gun owners swapping weapons for gift cards worth $50 or $100 depending on the type of gun they turned in.

One customer told the Times he wanted to get rid of his unused shotgun to prevent it from being stolen in the event his home was burglarized.

The buyback was organized by a coalition of black churches, but San Diego County law enforcement officials said they were organizing similar events for the near future.

"If we save one child's life, or keep one officer from being shot at, this has been worthwhile," said Sheriff Bill Gore.

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