Gun buyback events overwhelmed in SF, Oakland

December 17, 2012 5:55:34 PM PST
In the wake of the massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut, police in Oakland and San Francisco were overwhelmed with people handing over firearms at gun buyback events this weekend, San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said Monday.

Nearly 300 guns were brought to the event on Saturday at the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco on Saturday while about 300 more were brought to Saint Benedict's Church in Oakland, Suhr said.

"We far exceeded whatever we thought we could get ... based on all the other gun buybacks," he said.

Residents who turned in a working, unloaded gun received $200 per gun on up to three guns, but because of the high volume of guns handed over, roughly half of the people had to be given vouchers for the money and organizers are currently looking for funding sources to pay them, Suhr said.

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."

He said, "We're doing everything we can make sure that those things don't happen ever again anywhere."

Speaking at an unrelated event in the city's Bayview District today, Suhr said many of the people who came to the gun buyback event were relieved to be rid of the firearm.

"A lot of the commentary we got was 'I'm so glad I get to have this out of my house,'" he said, adding that there are also "a lot of cops here in the Bayview that are happy that those guns are off the streets."