Hundreds of Libyans have converged on a main square in Benghazi and another in Tripoli in response to a call from the military to hand over their weapons.
Some drove in with armoured personnel carriers, tanks, vehicles with mounted anti-aircraft guns and hundreds of rocket launchers.
The call by the Libyan chiefs of staff was promoted on a private TV station in August. But it may have gained traction in the wake of the attack against the US consulate in Benghazi in which the American ambassador and three staffers were killed.
The incident was followed by a popular uproar against armed militias which have increasingly challenged government authorities.
In response, the government has called on all militias to disband or join a command centre co-ordinating between the army and the militias. The government had relied on many militias for security during the turmoil following last year's ousting and killing of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Army colonel Omran al-Warfali said Saturday's turnout had been impressive. "Hundreds of citizens came since the early hours of this morning to hand over their weapons from all segments of society, men and youth, women, and even children came to hand over bullets they found it in the streets," he said.
Previously, the government had estimated that more than 200,000 people in Libya were armed. It has attempted a number of disarmament schemes, including offering people jobs in exchange for handing over their weapons, or offering to buy guns, but those offers had shown few results.
A military official has been urging citizens in ads on a popular TV station to hand in their weapons. The station, Libya alHurra or Free Libya, showed live footage of yesterday's collection and transfer of weapons to military barracks.
Ahmed Salem, an organiser of the efforts in Benghazi, said more than 800 citizens handed in weapons at the main collection point. More than 600 different types of arms were collected, including anti-aircraft guns, land mines, rocket launchers and artillery rockets.
Last weekend, thousands of protesters marched against the militias in Benghazi, the cradle of the uprising against Gaddafi, and stormed two of their compounds. In Tripoli, at least 200 former fighters handed over their weapons, including two tanks, at the Martyrs' Square in the city centre. A cleric urged young fighters to give up their weapons. "The nation is built with knowledge, not guns," he said.