In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, business owner, Civil Service Commissioner and lifelong Culver City resident Albert Vera has stepped up to the plate to initiate a local effort to get guns off the street.
Vera, along with three other local business owners, have each agreed to donate $1,000 to provide a total of $4,000 in seed money to kickstart a gun buy-back program in which people can anonymously turn in their handguns, rifles, shotguns and semi-automatic weapons to the Police Department in return for gift cards and/or cash. The weapons are subsequently destroyed.
Similar programs run through the LAPD and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department have resulted in taking hundreds of guns off the streets. CCPD allows people to surrender their weapons, but does not currently have a program to incentivize gun-owners for surrendering their weapons.
“As a father and a supporter of our schools, I am appalled that children have to think about buying bullet-proof backpacks and learning what to do in the case of an active shooter on campus,” Vera said. “They should be focused on their grades and getting ready for college. There is, unfortunately, very little we can do as a city government to address the gun control issue, but I think this is a good first step and a way in which our community can work together to show we want to make a difference.”
While spearheading the local effort to buy back guns, Vera said he believes gun control legislation needs to include longer waiting periods, child lock requirements, the elimination of private gun sales, minimum age requirements and extensive background checks.
“I also think we need to close the gun-show loophole,” he said. “It is crazy that in many parts of the country, anyone can walk into a gun show, buy a gun and leave without a background check, waiting period or anything.”
Vera said he hopes the effort gathers steam and attracts new donations from other Culver City businesses and individuals. In addition to Vera, the following businesses have also contributed $1,000 each to the effort: George Petrelli’s Steakhouse, The Wood Café and Mike’s Shoe Repair.
“We’re still working out the details about how the public can donate to the program but I look forward to announcing more details soon,” he said. “I am hopeful we can involve local businesses and that this effort is something that our community embraces. We have to do our part to take guns off the street at home while continuing to push Congress to take action in Washington, D.C., so that massacres like Parkland never happen again.”
For more information about Vera and/or the gun buy-back program, please contact him directly at (310) 913-5830 or visit www.veraforcouncil.com.