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Police swap groceries for weapons in guns-for-groceries exchange program

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012 7:35 p.m. MST

Motorists wait inside their cars to drop guns to waiting Los Angeles Police officials at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. Los Angeles police are offering groceries for guns in a buyback program that was moved up in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy. Police officials will be accepting weapons Wednesday at the LA Memorial Sports Arena and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple. Weapons can be turned in with no questions asked. Handguns, rifles and shotguns can be exchanged for $100 Ralphs grocery store gift cards. An automatic weapons will earn a $200 card.

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Long lines of cars and people formed Wednesday to take advantage of a guns-for-groceries exchange program that was moved up in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting.

Police officers filled bins with a variety of rifles and handguns outside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple.

"All of us are still mourning the tragedy at Newtown, Conn.," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "So many young innocent children were mass-murdered in the way that they were, and now the assassination of two firefighters ... just breaks the heart of so many of us, particularly in this holiday season."

The anonymous buyback program allowed weapons to be turned in with no questions asked. Handguns, rifles and shotguns could be exchanged for $100 Ralphs grocery store gift cards. Assault weapons earned a $200 card.

The program, designed to get guns off the streets, usually is held in May. Villaraigosa decided to do it now in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The last buyback netted about 1,700 guns.

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