SF, Oakland Gun Buybacks in Wake of Connecticut Tragedy

Some of the guns that were turned in during the weekend in San Francisco.

Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson speaks in front of 1,137 guns that were turned in for cash during a state-sponsored gun buyback program for Camden County, N.J. residents last Friday and Saturday. The guns were displayed at the Camden Police Department, Tuesday, Dec. 18. (Staff Photo by Tim Hawk/South Jersey Times).

As the country mourns the victims of the Connecticut elementary school massacre, police in Oakland and San Francisco were flooded with people handing over firearms at gun buyback events this past weekend. Residents brought nearly 300 guns to the buyback on Saturday at Omega Boys Club in San Francisco on Saturday, and another 300 more were turned in at Saint Benedict’s Church in Oakland. “We far exceeded whatever we thought we could get,” said San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr. For each unloaded, working gun that was turned in, residents received $200. But because of the large number of guns turned in, about half of the people received vouchers for the money, and organizers are looking for funding sources to pay them. The chief said the high numbers were likely attributed to the shooting that left more than two dozen students and staff dead at an elementary school a day earlier, a case Suhr called “unimaginable.” In Oakland, the event was funded by a $100,000 donation from Keith Stephenson, president of the Purple Heart Patient Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in the city. Captain Ersie Joyner of the Oakland Police said the department was surprised by the types of guns that were turned in. ”At other gun buyback programs we‘ve often gotten guns that are not operable, or old dusty musket-type firearms. These are kind of like high caliber…these are the types of guns that are used in robberies,” he said.
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