News Column

Police in Oakland, San Francisco Offer Cash for Guns Saturday

Dec 14, 2012

Kristin J. Bender

Even as police were trumpeting a new program to buy back weapons on Saturday, a man was killed in East Oakland, a grim reminder of just how badly Oakland needs to get guns off the streets.

The killing of a man was the city's 122nd homicide this year. It happened at 3:30 p.m. at 83rd Avenue and D Street, just as police brass and leaders from community organizations on both sides of the bay were holding a news conference to promote an anonymous gun buyback program Saturday in Oakland and San Francisco.

"How many times have we heard, 'there's too many guns, there's too many guns,'" said Joe Marshall, the executive director of the Omega Boy's Club in San Francisco. "This is a chance to get some of those weapons off the street."

The boy's club and Youth UpRising in Oakland have partnered with the police to check gun owners' identification Saturday to ensure that only Oakland and San Francisco residents receive cash for their guns.

"Crisp $100 bills," said Olis Simmons, the executive director of Youth UpRising. No police money is being used for buying back the weapons.

Simmons said the buyback was planned near the holidays to give those who are strapped for cash a chance to hand over up to three guns and receive $200 for each weapon.

"If you are struggling (for money), you can make a different choice in your life and turn in your gun," she said. This is the first time the Oakland Police Department and the San

Francisco Police Department have hooked up with each other and community organizations to do a gun buyback, police said.

Police said the buyback will be completely anonymous, but weapon owners must show proof of residency in the city where they drop off the gun. A California driver's license, California identification card, utility bill, cellphone bill or mortgage paperwork are acceptable. Firearms must be in working condition and unloaded.

"No attempt will be made to document personal information, and no warrant checks will be done at the time," said San Francisco Police Sgt. Hector Jusino Jr.

Oakland has had gun buybacks before that were not successful. In 2008, then-state Sen. Don Perata helped with a program to offer $250 for each working gun turned in, no questions asked. Gun dealers from out of state flocked to Oakland to dump useless antiques and other weapons they could not sell, defeating the buyback's intent of removing weapons from the streets of the inner city.

Oakland police Capt. Ersie Joyner said that won't happen Saturday. "This gun buyback program is tailor-made for the cities of San Francisco and Oakland," he said.

Earlier this year, Carlos Nava Sr., the father of Carlos Nava Jr., 3, who was killed in August 2011 on International Boulevard in Oakland, joined a small-scale gun buyback, offering gift cards for the first 100 people who turned in guns.

Nava was one of three children younger than 5 killed by gunfire in 2011. In Oakland this year, homicides are up compared with last year, with 122 killings to date. There were 105 for all of 2011.



Source: (c)2012 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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