Gun buyback programs in San Francisco and Oakland proved that, at least in the Bay Area, there are scores of people willing to abandon their right to bear arms — especially in light of last Friday's tragedy. Saturday's buyback programs in both cities had been planned in advance, but saw record numbers of firearms turned in to local police forces.
At 200 bucks a pop, the OPD and SFPD bought back nearly 600 guns between them. Both events saw attendance double what they originally expected. It was Oakland's largest buyback program ever and the line of cars waiting to get in reportedly stretched for miles, with some drivers so intent on getting rid of their firearms they ran out of gas while idling in line. The success was so great, had to be turned away at the end, but organizers ensured their weapons could be bought back in the near future.
Although the reason for the attendance spike seems obvious in the wake of Friday's events, ongoing gun violence and the increasing homicide rate in Oakland also convinced many to disarm themselves. Still, the former gun owners in attendance gave a range of reasons for handing over their weaponry:
"I've got kids, man," Arturo Hurtado, a Waste Management employee in Oakland with four kids told the Chronicle. "Kids are curious. Kids don't know any better. I had it locked in a toolbox, so I don't know. ... I just know it had to go."
"What inspired me really was incident that just took place in Connecticut and my own son was murdered," Oakland resident Emad Abdullah told KTVU, "I just want to help out."
One 59-year-old woman who was moving out to Tracy, CA sold her limit of three guns, but said she was "keeping one for protection."
Meanwhile, in San Francisco: residents turning in their weapons could barely stand to look at the things. Naturally, someone showed up to plug the barrels with flowers:
...residents wrapped hunting rifles in wool blankets and carried their handguns in pillowcases. People waiting in line said a neighbor brought carnations to "lighten the mood" and some residents corked their guns with flowers.
The buyback programs were co-sponsored by nonprofits Youth UpRising in Oakland and the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco. The cash for the guns was provided by private donors. At the Oakland buyback, the donor reportedly had to send extra cash to accomodate the huge turnout. "Unfortunately," OPD Capt. Ersie Joyner said, "we'll still run out of money before we run out of guns."