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Rocket launchers catch eye at weapons buyback

LOS ANGELES – Two rocket launchers turned in to the Los Angeles Police Department as part of the city’s gun buyback event appear to be antitank weapons from the military, experts said.

Police said the people turning them in at the buyback told officers they had family members who were at one time in the military and “they no longer wanted the launchers in their homes.”

Several military experts said one of the weapons was probably a version of the AT4, an unguided antitank weapon. It’s a single-shot weapon that a soldier fires and then discards the tubing.

The two launchers – long metal tubes that were once capable of propelling rocket grenades – were turned in along with 2,037 weapons at a gun buyback Wednesday and exchanged for supermarket gift cards.

Det. Gus Villanueva said the launchers were “stripped-down shells” without the technical parts needed to discharge a projectile. “They don’t have capability to discharge anything anymore,” he said.

Los Angeles police gun experts will check the origins of the weapons with the U.S. military to see if they were ever stolen, he said.

Among the 2,037 firearms were 75 assault weapons, officials said. The total was nearly 400 more weapons than were collected in a similar buyback earlier this year.

Police said they’re used to military-style weapons being turned in at such events and noted that neither of the launchers had rockets in them and did not pose a danger.


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