Gun buyback in Oakland where boy shot

January 18, 2008 1:25:30 PM PST
State Senate President Don Perata is announcing a plan to buy back guns to make Oakland streets safer. Perata was joined by the parents of 10-year old Christopher Rodriguez. A stray bullet last week paralyzed the boy, who was taking a music lesson.

Gun buyback programs are nothing new, but what's different about this one, is that hopefully it will be more poignant because of what happened at the location its taking place at. One week ago, a ten year old boy taking piano lessons was paralyzed after being hit by a bullet fired during a robbery across the street.

The parents of that 10-year-old, Christopher Rodriguez, along with community and government leaders joined Senate President Don Perata to talk about the details of a voluntary gun buyback event, its called "One Less Gun," it will be held in February, each gun will be melted down and taken out of service.

A couple hundred volunteers will also take to Oakland streets and talk with merchants and others about the dangers of handguns. Last week's shooting that left 10-year old Christopher paralyzed from a stray bullet highlights the violence affecting even the innocent.

For decades, Perata has championed for gun safety legislation. He says last week's tragedy is particularly troublesome and reminds how anyone's safety can be in jeopardy.

"It was the fact that this was just a little boy playing the piano, doing what a young boy should be doing, and it was like the tipping point I suppose. And there was such an outpouring of outrage and anger that we thought it was time to try to capture that and turn it to something positive. We were talking about the buyback, and he said, you know, if I could prevent one other child from having to go through this or one other family from having to go through this, it would have been worth it," said Senate President pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland).

Oakland has long been a city ravaged by a high homicide rate and many residents live in fear. Even Perata himself was a victim of a carjacking at gunpoint last month. He says it's become a gun culture for many criminals, who feel they have nothing to lose -- so getting any gun off the street will help, little by little. The last time a gun buyback was held in Oakland was in December 2006 -- two events that month helped gather dozens of guns. Perata hopes to keep the "One Less Gun" program running once a month through the rest of the year.

For more information:

Oakland Gun Buyback
Saturday February 9, 2008
10 am - 2 pm

Allen Temple Baptist Church
8501 International Blvd.

True Vine Missionary Baptist Church
898 Isabella Street

Christian Cathedral
2433 Coolidge Ave