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BUYBACK PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN SKS SPORTER RIFLES TO END FRIDAY.

Byline: Cecilia Chan Staff Writer

Owners of SKS sporter rifles have until Friday to turn in their weapons, which will become illegal in the new year.

In return for handing over their rifles to a law-enforcement agency or a licensed gun dealer, gun owners will receive a $230 voucher that can be redeemed through the State Department of Justice.

``We got 14 rifles that were turned in,'' said Eric Nishimoto, spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. ``As of Jan. 1, they become illegal.

``Some sporters are still legal, and some aren't,'' Nishimoto said. ``What people have to do if they have questions at all is to bring them in, unloaded, and we will take a look at them and determine which is legal or not.''

Gun owners also will have to show proof they purchased their weapons legally, he said.

He said the department hadn't expected that many guns to be turned in because previous buy-back programs didn't fare well.

``If they do turn them in, in the past it seems they turned them in to a licensed gun dealer or did not turn them in at all,'' Nishimoto said.

So far, the Simi Valley Police Department has received about 10 SKS rifles, said Lt. Neal Rein.

``We didn't get people coming in until maybe two months ago,'' Rein said, ``but as New Year's Eve approaches, they are starting to come in a little more often.''

Rein said the Russian-designed rifles are often used for target practice. But, like any assault weapon, it's designed to kill people.

``The Legislature decided that they would, in an effort to get them off the street, . . . give people an opportunity to turn them in and pay them money for the gun,'' he said.

Rein said there is no way of knowing how many of these types of military rifles are in the city of Simi Valley, with a population of 110,000.

``I would say getting any of them off the street is significant,'' he said. ``I don't know how many weapons are here, but more that can be turned in, that is fewer out and about.''

For those who skirt the law and are caught, their rifle will be confiscated, and they will face prosecution.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 28, 1999
Words:373
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