Police had already collected 185 guns in less than an hour this morning at a city-sponsored gun buyback in Van Nuys.
Before the 9 a.m. start, a line of cars already stretched through the parking lot of Van Nuys Masonic Center and out onto Sherman Way.
Drivers went through the lot and popped their trunks for Los Angeles police officers, who took the guns out and handed them $100 to $200 in Ralphs gift cards in exchange.
The tally as of 9:50 a.m. included 50 handguns, 80 rifles and 45 shotguns. The long guns were piled in several brown city trash bins sitting in the parking lot.
Many of the weapons turned in were family heirlooms.
But Doug Johnson, an undercover gang and narcotics officer at the event, said they also included two fully automatic TEC-9s, a common gun for gang members, along with an AK-47 and a Bushmaster rifle, the same brand used in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre on Dec. 14.
Danny Reyes of West L.A. said he turned in two handguns for his brother, who believed they might be illegal and was nervous about dealing with the police.
"He was leery, but I was explaining to him they want the guns off the streets," Reyes said after getting $200 in gift cards. "This is the perfect opportunity."
Lee Bramer of Santa Clarita said he turned in a .
"Any time we can take guns off the street, it's better and safer," he said.
Referring to the Connecticut school shooting, he added, "I've got a 5-year-old grandson. I wouldn't want to see anything like that happen out here."
At the same time, another buyback was happening in South Los Angeles.
L.A.'s gun buyback is normally held around Mothers Day, but it was moved up this year after the Connecticut shootings.
Police said they did not record the names or license plate numbers of people dropping off guns. Having been promised anonymity, some people were reluctant to talk to reporters.
A Burbank woman, who would not give her name, said as she drove out of the Van Nuys event that she turned in a gun that had belonged to her parents.
Both the gift card and the opportunity to get rid of the gun drew her in.
"Not something I wanted to hold on to," she said.
A few protesters stood on the streets holding signs urging people not to turn in guns.
One, Bruce Boyer, yelled at waiting drivers that they were supporting "the regime" by turning in guns.
Boyer, who calls himself the "chief instigator" of the local pro-gun group Sons of Liberty L.A., said the event is "a fraud" meant to convince the public that police are making the streets safer.
Instead of urging law-abiding citizens to turn guns in, Boyer said, police should encourage them to get more guns to protect themselves. Boyer is also the owner of Lone Star security company in the San Fernando Valley and is perhaps best known for fighting with the city for his right to place his company's mobile billboards on Valley streets.
A man driving out of the event said he couldn't give his name because he's a National Rifle Association life member and doesn't want his friends to know he turned in a gun.
Referring to the other people in line, many of whom appeared elderly or middle-aged as they drove out, he added, "I would say that the people turning them in are the ones that should be keeping them. And I don't see many gangbangers in the line."
Johnson, the undercover officer, said some of the weapons were, in fact, gangbanger guns, and he was glad to get them off the streets.
Follow Eric Hartley on Twitter: @ethartley