First-Ever Gun Buyback Nets 135 Firearms

Published : Monday, May 13, 2013 | 6:26 AM

The first Pasadena Area Gun Buyback and Peace-source Fair on Saturday netted 135 guns that included an AK-47 assault rifle, an SKS assault rifle, a TEC-9 pistol and a sniper rifle with scope.

Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said about half the collection were rifles and the other half pistols.

More than a hundred gun owners drove up to the Pasadena Police station, 207 N. Garfield Ave. and unloaded firearms that were traded for gift certificates to Ralphs, Target and Best Buy stores.

Gift certificates were issued as follows: $50 for a non-working firearm, $100 for working handguns, rifles or shotguns, and $200 for functioning military style assault weapons.

The event was hosted by the Pasadena Area Gun Buyback Committee, the City of Pasadena, local religious leaders and the Pasadena Police Department.

“Together, all of us raised about $25,000, primarily to buy back unwanted guns and get them off the streets of Pasadena,” Melissa Hofstetter, co-chairwoman of the Pasadena Area Gun Buyback Committee, told the Pasadena Star-News.

Pasadena police chief Phillip Sanchez said the firearms will be turned over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“We have a partnership with the L.A. County Sheriff’s and they (the weapons) will be destroyed,” Sanchez said. “Not for art or collection, or any of those other kinds of things. These weapons will be destroyed.”

Pasadena City Manager Michael Beck said there was a steady line of cars Saturday that actually wrapped around the police station.

“I think what’s really exciting was to see the community participation that enable this to happen,” Beck said. “After we’re done I want to look at what certainly is the return on the investment would be and, certainly, is we continue to get the flow of weapons that we’ve seen today, I think that we’d have to look seriously about doing it again.”

Moreover, Sanchez said Saturday’s event was a great example of collaboration between local community and government.

“This particular day (Saturday) is unique because it’s in conjunction with a Peace Fair that’s right next door,” he said. ‘I would like to give credit to Jill Shook and to Jaylene Moseley from the Flintridge Center for the fundraising that they helped through our churches in the City of Pasadena.”

The Peace-Source Fair, scheduled between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday and situated on Thurgood Marshall between Garfield Avenue and Euclid Avenue, allowed civic, community and religious leaders to share insight into on-going efforts to reduce violence in the community.

“The churches have a huge voice, violence is a deeply spiritual issue,” Shook told the Los Angeles Times. “Not just the Christian churches but there’s Muslims, there’s Buddhists, there’s a broad spectrum, so by being united on this one issue, we can make a big difference.”

Independent of Saturday’s event, the Pasadena Police Department, over the last 18 months or so, has received 146 guns without any gun buyback program, Sanchez said.

“And I would always encourage our community members to surrender those firearms anytime they feel uncomfortable or they no longer want the firearm,” he said.

“I’ve always said that the reality is that legal and lawful ownership of a firearm has to be coupled with responsible gun ownership,” Sanchez said. “And if you don’t want to be a responsible gun owner then fortunately we have these kinds of programs (Saturday’s event) where you can surrender that gun.”

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