Two rocket launchers were turned in at a recent LAPD gun buyback. The rocket launchers were among 1,962 guns given up to police in exchange for $100 and $200 grocery store gift cards at the no-questions-asked buyback program.
According to Gawker, the buyback was held by the LAPD in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
LA Weekly reports the police department says they will destroy the 901 handguns, 698 rifles and 363 shotguns recovered in the program.
The program was aimed at getting weapons off the streets after the tragic Newtown shooting on December 14, the Daily Mail reports.
According to the LA Weekly, the initiative was successful with two-hour waits and gift-card shortages reported.
The Daily Mail reports long lines of cars and people were seen in the first hours of the exchange on Wednesday morning. Officers recovered various types of rifles and handguns outside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple.
Police Cmdr Andrew Smith, said: "No ID checks, we're not taking down license plates, people drive up, they have a gun in their trunk, we have one of our gun experts take that gun out, make sure it's safe, they walk over, get a gift card, and away they go."
According to LA Weekly, a source said:
"Cops picked up two -- count 'em two -- rocket launchers (!) (and not one, as other outlets are reporting), an LAPD official with close knowledge of the program told us. Holy hell why do people on our streets have military grade rocket launchers?"Business Insider reports LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, commented: "Those are weapons of war, weapons of death. These are not hunting guns. These are not target guns. These are made to put high-velocity, extremely deadly, long-range rounds downrange as quickly as possible, and they have no place in our great city."
A police official, however, explained that it was not unusual. "We've had them in the past," LA Weekly reports he said.
The police described the weapons as "light anti-tank weapons" that propel grenades, but said they were antiquated. According to the police, they were probably held by collectors or passed down to family members by war veterans. Police authorities also said the weapons were not working because they did not have "projectiles."
In response to the question whether the weapons have attracted the interest of the FBI and Homeland Security, a police spokesman said they have not received inquiries. He emphasized, however, that the LAPD was committed to honoring its promise to keep the donors anonymous.
The Daily Mail reports the program was originally scheduled for May, but the LAPD decided to hold it in December following the December 14th shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The police said they recovered 1,700 guns at the last buyback program.
A resident, Commorah Fisher, explained that she participated in the program to prevent her weapons falling into criminal hands. She said: "To turn in some ammunition, and guns that may be stolen from our house and you know someone may do something really bad with them. That's why I'm turning them in."
According to the Daily Mail, a 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences said that gun buybacks were ineffective for fighting against gun violence: "The theory underlying gun buyback programs is badly flawed and the empirical evidence demonstrates the ineffectiveness of these programs."
According to the report, the majority of guns turned in were unlikely to be used by their owners for criminal activities, and include obsolete guns and old guns that their owners do not want to keep.