OAKLAND — Residents came to Youth Uprising Saturday where volunteers and Oakland Police officials processed handguns and assault rifles people turned in voluntarily. The gun buyback event ended with an unofficial count of 145 guns received in about six hours.
Gun owners received $100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles; $200 were given for assault weapons.
“Anything we get off the street makes us safer,” said Sikander Iqbal, the coordinator for Youth Uprising.
The gun buyback was held in conjunction with buybacks in Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco. Saturday’s event was the third organized by Youth Uprising, a neighborhood organization that provides community and educational services, and OPD. The first gun buyback, held a day after the Sandy Hook shooting last year, brought in over 400 firearms despite rainy conditions. A buyback held in August in West Oakland brought in more than 100 weapons.
Money for the event was raised though individual donations from community members and public officials, as well as crowdfunding and money from foundations. Each city involved in the statewide campaign raised funds independently. Surplus money from the August event was used to promote the most recent event.
“The number one goal is to get guns of the street, the second goals is to partner with the community,” said Oakland Police Lt. Randell Wingate.
Those who turned in guns tend to be older residents not involved in street crime, according to Oakland Police, but weapons tend to find their way into the wrong hands.
“These people are the pool of where criminals get guns from,” Wingate said.
The buyback in Oakland drew a range of gun owners. One person refused to accept money for the gun they turned in. Another person was disappointed when they were told that police were buying guns, not selling. The most guns one person turned in was seven, which included handguns and assault rifles.
“It is hard to say that what we do has a direct impact on violence, but it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t,” Wingate said.
The guns are tagged and have their serial numbers and ballistics cross-checked through registration systems. All the weapons will be destroyed, police said.