People waited for hours in Los Angeles on Wednesday to exchange their unwanted guns for grocery store gift cards as the city tries to get the weapons off the street, reports the Atlantic. By lunchtime, they’d already collected more than the 1,673 guns that were exchanged last year, and the officials running the event had to get more gift cards. One guy showed up with 22 pistols in his trunk. The event usually takes place on Mother’s Day, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa moved it up to the day after Christmas following the school massacre in Connecticut.
These type of events have been happening all over the country since the Sandy Hood shooting. (The Atlantic story includes a national map with recent and upcoming buybacks.) Each one is different, but generally, firearms fetch between $50 and $100. In Los Angeles, they were offering up to $200 for assault rifles. It’s not really about the money, though. As Villaraigosa explained ahead of his city’s buyback program, it’s also about taking action. “I think everybody was so traumatized,” he said. “People said, ‘I don’t wait on the Congress, I’m tired of the endless debates about responsible gun control legislation, I want to do my part.” As it were, one of the first guns collected at Wednesday was a Bushmaster XM-15, the same assault rifle that Adam Lanza used at Sandy Hook.