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Deputies trade 'Gifts for Guns' in South L.A.

December 4, 2009 12:40:45 AM PST
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department asked residents Friday to turn in firearms as part of its "Gifts for Guns" program, aimed at getting guns off the streets of Southern California.All types of guns were stacked in shopping carts Friday, each one voluntarily turned in to sheriff's deputies. It wasn't some sting operation to get guns from criminals. It's part of a program called "Gifts for Guns."

"I turned in .22 rifle that was a gift from my wife's brother," said one participant.

Sheriff's deputies from the Lennox Station set up Friday morning in a shopping center lot in South L.A., taking in guns from the public in return for gift cards worth between $50 to $100.

"I know that the police are going to make sure you don't sell it to someone that goes out and shoots somebody," said Brenda Cox, who participated in the program Friday.

"You want to get any handguns, any type of firearm actually, whether it be rifle, shotgun like I mentioned, off the streets in an attempt to make that gun less accessible to anyone who might want to use it for criminal purposes," said sheriff's Lt. Jeff Adams.

"We need to get these guys off the streets because these guys are killing each other," said Terry Busby, who dropped off a gun Friday. "And it's young kids killing young kids and we need to get these guns off the streets."

L.A. County sheriff deputies from the Lennox station say they have been participating in the 'gifts for guns program' for at least a year?and within that year they've taken in more than a thousand guns Today, they expect to take in at least 200 guns.

"Not only does the Lennox Station do it but we have other sheriff's stations throughout the county that do it as well, so combined we've taken in thousands of firearms," said Adams.

Given the tough economy, some people were eager to cash in on their guns.

Hugo Mo says with small children he'd rather have gifts than guns.

"You know, I do it because it's better that they have it because accidents happen at home," said Mo.

Does the "Gifts for Guns" program produce safer streets?

"Anytime I know there's one less gun on the street, I know that myself or a fellow officer can't potentially be hurt by that gun," said Adams.

The Gifts for Guns program will continue on Saturday, Dec. 5, at:
Food For Less Parking Lot
11407 Western Ave.
Los Angeles
9 a.m.-3 p.m.


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