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Los Angeles collects most guns ever, in post-Newtown buyback event

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Forty-one members of the US House of Representatives, all Democrats, are calling for a federal gun buyback program. The letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R) and majority leader Nancy Pelosi (D), co-written by US Reps. Gerald Connolly of Virginia and Ted Deutch of Florida, asks for $200 million to fund a program that “could remove as many as 1 million guns from our streets.”

“The murder of 20 youngsters and five educators in their classrooms has galvanized the public’s desire for immediate action, and partnering with the States on a nationwide gun buyback program is a modest, common sense start,” they wrote.

Some in the crime prevention community, however, are skeptical that buyback programs do much to reduce homicide counts.

A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences on gun violence finds the strategy to be “flawed,” because the types of guns that tend to be turned in are “old, malfunctioning” or “owned by individuals who derive little value from the possession of guns,” such as people who have inherited guns but are not gun enthusiasts themselves.

The report also concluded that the guns turned in are unlike those used by criminals and that there is no link, supported by data, between buyback programs and reduced gun violence.

Among the guns collected in Los Angeles on Wednesday, police say, were 901 handguns, 698 rifles, and 363 shotguns. Seventy-five firearms were assault-style weapons, including a camouflage Bushmaster AR-15, the same kind of gun used in the Newtown massacre.

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