Each year, the city of Los Angeles does its best to get guns off the streets before they can be used in violent crimes. The gun buyback program has been successful, but it didn't come soon enough for some.
"In December of '97 my son Evan was murdered at Darby Park in Inglewood," said Ruett Foster at Friday's announcement of the event. "He was 7 years old."
For Ruett and other victims of violent crime, programs like the buyback are just one step toward solving the problem.
It only takes one gun to take a life, so every gun off the street is a potential life-saver.
"One step at a time. We've got to reach out, and if we don't, we'll never get there, we'll stay sick and we'll be afraid and we won't be safe," said Ruett.
Police receive a wide variety of guns in the buyback events and are always surprised by the quality of the weapons.
"Every gun has to be operational," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "We look at them and if you bring in a gun that won't operate or is a replica, you're not going to get very much for it. But we get some incredibly good pieces."
The quality of the gun determines how much money is handed over: Up to $200 worth of credit from Visa or Ralphs for assault weapons; $100 for shotguns, rifles and handguns.
"On May 12th, the day before Mother's Day, anyone can go to one of six different locations across the city to exchange their firearm for gift cards, no questions asked," L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Friday.
There are critics of the program. Police don't do ballistic checks on all the weapons, meaning that weapons used in crimes could slip through the cracks. But advocates say simply removing the weapons from the street is the most important goal. And Ruett and others are convinced it can make a life-saving difference.
Gun buyback locations: (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Los Angeles Fire Department Frank Hotchkins Training Academy
1700 Stadium Way
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Park & Ride parking lot
1300 West Pacific Coast Highway
Wilmington, CA 90744
Facey Medical Center parking lot
11165 Sepulveda Blvd.
Mission Hills, CA 91345
Korean Evangelical Zion Church
2149 West Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Bethel AME Church
7900 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90047
Grant AME Church
10435 South Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90002