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.