2 rocket launchers turned in during Los Angeles gun buyback

5:05 PM, Dec 28, 2012   |    comments
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By Kyung Lah

LOS ANGELES (KCAL/CNN) - A one-day gun buyback event in Los Angeles ended up bringing more than 2,000 firearms off the street.

The annual event is typically held Mother's Day, but was moved up to this week in response to the massacre at the elementary school in Connecticut.

A rocket launcher. Not just one, but two, handed over to police in this week's gun buyback day.

Shocking? Not to police, who've seen it before, among the roughly 10,000 guns turned in to police by the citizens of Los Angeles since 2009.

"It looks like we're in a third world nation when you seize all these weapons from individuals and the question you have to ask is why," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

The rocket launchers were U.S. made, owned privately though illegal, and turned over to police under the no questions asked buyback.

They thankfully had no rockets in them.

Police also collected 75 assault rifles that people traded in this week for gift cards.

"I don't think anyone should be surprised two rocket launchers were turned in, this is LA," said national security expert Aaron Cohen.

Cohen advises clients around the world, and says this should be a reality check and a sign of how military-style weaponry can so easily end up in the wrong hands, like they did in the Newtown massacre.

"There's way too many weapons that are out there on the streets. The types of weapons that brought in, 75 assault rifles the other day, not to mention the two RPG rocket launchers I mean, it's just ridiculous," said Cohen.

[Reporter]: "Do you think it's gotten out of hand?"

"I think the system of issuing them has gotten out of hand. I think we have to look at the entire safety system involved with giving handguns out," said Cohen.

Gun shows and easy background checks, Cohen says, that add up to an overly armed America. And the people who turned in guns, most of them legal, came from all walks of life.

The gun collection was so successful this time, the city actually ran out of money for supermarket gift cards.


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