Gun Buyback Aims to Take Weapons Off Streets

For the first time since 1999, the City of Long Beach will host a gun buyback program Saturday, June 8 at the north police sub-station on Atlantic Avenue, where unwanted firearms can be exchanged for gift cards.    

“The Gun Buyback Program allows members of the community to turn in weapons they no longer want to own,” Police Chief Jim McDonnell said. “Every gun that is taken off the street decreases the chance for it to end up in the wrong hands.”   

Gift cards in varying amounts will be awarded to those turning in guns based on the type and operable condition of the weapons. Residents will receive gift cards of $50 (non-functioning firearms), $100 (handguns, rifles and shotguns) and $200 (assault weapons). Gift card quantities are limited and the police department is reserving the right to limit the number of gift cards rewarded to any one person regardless of the number of firearms they surrender.

The buyback will be the third of its kind in the last twenty years. In January, Long Beach City Council voted unanimously to approve the legislation authored by 9th District Councilmember Steve Neal that aimed at exploring funding options for a buyback program. In a press release, Mayor Bob Foster said that getting guns off the street will be beneficial for the city.

“Getting unwanted guns off the street securely is a good thing for the public’s safety,” Foster said.    

It’s unclear if the Long Beach buyback will operate under the same anonymity agreement that the LAPD put in place for a similar buyback last month. When negotiations to implement the program took place in January, Chief McDonnell expressed that it would be difficult for him to look the other way if a weapon turned in was connected with a crime.    

The goal of the buyback is to reduce the number of guns in the community which the police department hopes will also lessen the chances of gun-related violence occurring. Gun safety information will be available at the event and residents are asked to make sure firearms being turned are unloaded and transported safely in the trunk of a vehicle.

Gun buyback will be held on June 8 at the LBPD North Station at 4891 Atlantic Ave. 

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.