Organized by United Playaz — a local violence prevention and youth development nonprofit — SF’s annual gun buyback event was held Saturday at 1038 Howard Street where more than two hundred firearms were surrendered.
Last year, the non-profit organization received at least 228 firearms during its December gun buyback event; 2019's iteration of the buyback saw a similar amount of firearms surrendered. And yesterday, United Playaz again saw long lines as people queued up to rid themselves of guns.
Hundreds of guns brought to the United Playaz gun buy back this weekend. Thank you UP and all the supporters, volunteers and donors. pic.twitter.com/3tUPdyPUiO— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) December 12, 2021
“There’s a long line of cars, people who walk up, people who bring handguns and assault rifles,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney to KPIX. “It’s incredible how many guns there are out there and how many people actually want to get rid of them.”
People turning in guns yesterday, just like prior years, were offered $100 cash for handguns, rifles, and shotguns, as well as $200 cash for automatic weapons. The cash rewards were offered to anyone who surrendered their firearms — "no questions asked."
“One hundred dollars for a handgun, two hundred for an assault rifle — no questions asked," said United Playaz member Everett Butler. "You just drive up. You could have a trunkful. Open your trunk, they count the number out — cash you out."
Those lines, too, were filled with people seen wearing masks as concern about the Omicron variant's spread throughout the state grows. As of publishing, 18 cases of the highly-infectious variant have been recorded in California.
But the epidemic of gun violence has swelled since 2020; Oakland recently reported its 130th homicide of the year. However, with fewer guns in circulation, there's less of a chance of firearms causing unnecessary tragedies in San Francisco.
SFPD Captain Tim Falvey also said Saturday that these buybacks also stop guns from falling "into the hands of criminals," as well as those who are suffering from mental health issues — which could stop them from committing self-harm, as well.
“If they don’t have the means to hurt themselves, maybe it gives them time to reach out for help and prevent themselves from harming themselves,” Falvey said to the news oulet. “And that’s an important part of this as well.”
In total, 265 guns were surrendered during Saturday’s gun buyback event. And, as what's now tradition, the last firearm was smashed to pieces using a sledgehammer.
Per KPIX, United Playaz’s executive director, Rudy Valentino admitted they will never know how many lives will be changed by Saturday’s buyback — though "one gun makes an impact because that one gun can destroy one life, that can destroy this whole world.”
Photo: Twitter via @SFPDSouthern