Los Angeles Gun Buy-Back Program Turns Up Two Rocket Launchers

They were looking for illegal guns; clearly they found some.

The one-day gun buyback program in Los Angeles this last Wednesday was the most successful the city has had since they started the program. The Los Angeles Times reports that a total of 2,037 firearms were collected, including two rocket launchers and 75 assault weapons. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said,

Those are weapons of war, weapons of death. These are not hunting guns. These are not target guns. These are made to put high-velocity, extremely deadly, long-range rounds downrange as quickly as possible, and they have no place in our great city.

Rocket launchers are without question “weapons of war” and really have no place in the general populace. Although I have learned that if it’s just the launch tube, it’s not such a big deal (the disposable launch tube is not designed to be used more than once).  If there was a rocket inside, it would be a very big deal. People do turn in (or find) tubes for anti-tank rockets every once in a while.

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference on Thursday morning,

These weren’t just guns that weren’t functioning any more. These were serious guns — semiautomatic weapons, guns that have no place on the streets of Los Angeles or any other city.

According to Chief Beck the weapons collected by the LAPD which include 901 handguns, 698 rifles, and 363 shotguns along with the rocket launchers, will be melted down and destroyed.

Photo: AP/File

About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She has 2 beautiful children, and is very happily un-married to her life partner DJ.


  1. Mean Old Rich Republican White Guy says:

    This is a TRAINING facsimile of a REAL AT4 (M136).. it cant fire ANYTHING!

    I really wish the media would do some damn research before coming up with such crazy ass stories!

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    Hank. My enlisted MOS was 11B –light weapons Infantry–and my commissioned MOS was 71542–Airborne Infantry Small Unit Leader.
    I never wanted to carry the zippo. I mean, it’s heavy and nobody likes it, the other side or anybody on your side who might be within fifty meters.
    Let the air guys deliver that stuff. Then they can go home and have a beer, and sleep in a bed and have potable water and a hot meal and somebody else watching the perimeter….. Envy is not a pretty sight, even when it’s me.

  3. Hank Vandenburgh says:


    I was lucky enough to be a 54E (534), now 74D. Chemical operations specialist. So never toted anything fancy. I do know how to fire and maintain the M2 and M9 flamethrowers. They were Chemical Corps weapons. I can mix their fuel, too (or could.) Some of that stuff was 50 years ago.


  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    As usual with do-it-all items, doing any one thing is non-optimal. However, I’ve fired the M14 squad auto version and it hummed along pretty nicely. It’s not just the M14 on full auto. It has a straight-line stock whjch reduces muzzle rise. If fired from a bipod–as a BAR was or supposed to be–it does a pretty good job of being a squad auto.
    As a purist, and big enough to carry the thing and a lot of ammo, I favored the M14. Among other things, you can hit, or do effective area fire at 1000 meters, making it unnecessary to unmask the machine guns.

  5. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Enlisting in 62, I was right at the end of the M-1 Garand and the BAR. I actually fired expert with the M-1 Carbine at Ft. Lewis in 63. I loved the M-14, which came in shortly afterward. We had them in Korea in 64. I’ve heard that the M-14 hvybbl (equivalent of today’s SAW or the BAR) was worthless on full auto, and allowed for the adoption of the M-16, unfortunately for the people who were armed with the first ones in Vietnam (because they jammed with the early powder and non-chrome receivers.) I’ve never even seen one.

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    Good book on Korea, “This Kind of War”, got a profound, deeply moving, insightful review on Amazon. Apparently the wonderfulness of the 3.5 was known to the US Army, but wasn’t shipped to Korea in time. Google up “task force smith” if you want to see what shaving pennies costs.
    When I was at Benning, we had a demo on how much better than the 3.5 was the M72 LAW, a one-shot weapon. Big, big diff.
    Anyway, afaik, the sturmgewhatsit is the first assault rifle. Necked-down round, full auto, smaller than a full-size rifle, shorter effective range and hitting power, better than a submachine gun, which fires pistol rounds. See tommygun, .45acp, etc.

    Officially, the assault rifle is a weapon with full and semi auto functions, smaller than a full-size Infantry weapon–like the BAR which was before your time or the squad auto version of the M14.. Fires smaller rounds than the standard Infantry round. Like the 5.56mm of the M16/M4/M249, vs the full size round, 7.62mm of the M14, our M60, and the variants of the new M240 which replaces the 60 on ground mounts and vehicle flex mounts and armor co-ax.
    So, the M16, M4 qualify, having full and semi functions. Although, after my time, the full auto was considered to be more like a sky-puncturer when the adrenalin is flowing, and instead of full auto, it has “burst”, three rounds, then you have to let go and squeeze again.
    The M2 carbine, firing a short .30 round, was in a gray area, as far as purists were concerned. The round looked like a long pistol round, not necked down like most military rifle rounds. Full and semi auto functions. In Korea. BTW, in Pork Chop Hill, Gregory Peck used it, being one of the few US military cinema heroes not using a Tommy Gun.
    As to auto, I guess it comforts people, but….
    My father had an Infantry platoon in the ETO. One fine day, they came around a corner in a town and saw Germans covering the withdrawal of a small antitank gun. He pointed to them, both sides started firing. The Germans were all down shortly and, puzzlingly, branches and twigs were falling on the Americans, none of whom were hit. The Germans all had, probably, the Schmeisser submachine gun, firiing 9mm pistol ammo on full auto and were too scared to control the them, hence doing the tree-trimming thing while the Americans, with the M1 Garand, were firing semi-auto and hitting.

    An “assault weapon” is any weapon the gun-grabbers claim it is. Mostly it must have semi-auto function and accept a box magazine and look vaguely military. Irrelevancies like barrel shrouds, flash hiders, muzzle brakes or compensators, bayonet lugs, are frequently pointed to in tones of horror designed to inflame the gullible. It cannot have full auto function, since that is already illegal. As I’ve said several times, the semi-auto M1 carbine with the thirty-round mag designed for the full-auto M2 carbine would qualify today as an “assault weapon”, and we had millions of them floating around fifty years ago and up to today, I imagine. No mass shootings back then.

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    Couple of hours ago, CNN was going on about “rocket launchers”. You think they know better and hope their target audience doesn’t?
    Or are they idiots?

    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

      The 3.5″ rocket launcher I had was actually multi-use. They wouldn’t let me gun the M-60 because I had the magic ability of jamming any automatic weapon I fired. We were actually in an artillery battalion S-3 shop, so these would have been weapons to be used only if we were being overrun (Korea 1964.)

    • Hank Vandenburgh says:

      Richard, I still want to know what “assault rifle” means, too. Does it mean “scary looking rifle,” like the M-16 or AK-47? By definition, almost, “Sturmgewehr” means automatic rifle– the concept was that Germans and Eastern European boys didn’t grow up as marksmen, so the needed a “bullet hose” to compensate. No matter how scary looking, these weapons cannot be automatic ones in the United States.

  8. The 2nd ammendment isn’t about hunting, it is about the right to protect us from/overthrowing the government when they become too oppressive. Like they are now.

    • Yes, when it comes to MY rights, I will let you know what “has no place.”

      You don’t need to try to tell me what rights I “need.”

      Because, honestly, no one “needs” to blog (or comment thereon). But, we have the right to.

      In short, my RIGHTS are not limited by my NEEDS.


  9. I’d just like to point out that the rocket launcher shown in the photo appears to be a training version that cannot fire a real rocket. The real version that does fire real rockets does not have that yellow stripe around it. You can see the yellow stripe just behind the police officer’s head in the photo. If it has the yellow stripe, it’s not a real rocket launcher.

    You can see a photo of a real version of that rocket launcher here (no yellow stripe):

    And there is also an “airsoft” version which fires a foam dart:

  10. Richard Aubrey says:

    You’ll note the four stars on the collar of the guy holding up the disposable–already disposed of–tube. He’s smart enough to know better. But he thinks a sufficient number of somebody else can be fooled.
    These events are always street junk for money. Not many assault rifles, though, which is good, since they don’t account for many murders, compared to pistols. So, this is a good thing, presuming the pistols work and all.

  11. Let’s see, disposable launcher inert rockets? Sounds like someone turned his wall decoration into grocery money.

  12. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Hey that takes me back. As I recall, it needs to be boresighted first, though.

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    Actually, no, it didn’t. A rocket launcher is a device which can launch a rocket. These were, as the writer observes, discarded single-use tubes. Now, had they come up with an RPG launcher, that would be a big deal.
    This is the usual for buy-back programs; people making money off street junk.
    But the cops and the pols have to make it look important.
    Let’s see. Shotguns and pistols. Not sending deadly, high-powered rounds down range. They are, however, responsible for far more homicides than assault rifles, so I guess this is something. Presuming they work.


  1. […] joins a growing trend across the country with this gun buyback program. Los Angeles had a similar buyback incentive last month and recovered over 2,000 […]

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