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El Mundo, Spain

Weapons for Food


By Pablo Scarpellini

Translated By Cydney Seigerman

28 December 2012

Edited by Natalie Clager


Spain - El Mundo - Original Article (Spanish)

The killings in Newtown, Connecticut galvanized citizens in Los Angeles. More than 100 guns of all types, some automatic and other assault weapons like the one used by Adam Lanza, were turned in by their owners to the city police. The guns were taken in exchange for gift cards of $100 and $200 to be used at the supermarket, an initiative put in place by the Hispanic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The campaign resulted in large lines of people desirous to contribute to the cause after the death of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The massacre at the school reignited the debate over the lack of regulations over massive gun sales in the United States.

According to a police sergeant quoted by the British channel Sky News, the people arrived to wait up to 1.5 hours in order to turn in their gun, an arsenal that caused one of the sites established by the police to run out of gift cards.

The authorities, for their part, followed through on their promise to not ask any question nor request identification from the volunteers, mainly men, who handed over guns ranging from pistols to rifles, AK-47s and collector models, such as a gun from 1895.

A Good Opportunity

Some of those who followed the call from Villaraigosa admitted that it was a good opportunity to remove their guns from home in exchange for money for something positive. “I'm bringing in a 9-millimeter handgun because I want to get it out of the house, because I have teenage children. I would hate for them to do what that guy in Connecticut did,” Sandra Lefall, 38, pointed out.

This campaign in Los Angeles contrasts with the presumed increase in sales of automatic guns on the national level following the murders committed by Lanza. Fearing new laws limiting access to guns, the company that makes the rifle used by the assassin claims it is overwhelmed by enormous demand.



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