Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, December 12, 2013
Live in California and need some extra spending money for Christmas presents? Local city governments and police departments throughout the state are willing to help you out – provided you cough up your working guns, rifles, shotguns and assault weapons in return.
Several major cities throughout the Golden State – including Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and San José – are hosting gun buybacks on Saturday, Dec. 14, making them the latest in a string of cities – including New York and Phoenix – to take part in the program.
In San José, the Police Department will be giving out Target gift cards worth $100 to people willing to part with their handguns, rifles and shotguns, and $200 for assault weapons. Police Captain Brian Ferrante told the San Jose Mercury News that the buyback program is part of the newly-appointed Police Chief’s push to reduce gang violence in the city, adding that it is the first the city’s held in more than 12 years.
“Our main goal is to take those weapons off the streets that could potentially end up in the hands of criminals and be used in shootings, robberies and homicides,” he said.
The city is building upon the success of a buyback event held in March in neighboring Santa Clara County, where the county government paid nearly $175,000 for 1,776 guns.
In Los Angeles, the city government will offer up to $200 in Ralphs grocery cards to people who turn in guns to the police – no questions asked – at one of three official locations in the city. The city’s last event, held back in May, resulted in the collection of 516 handguns, 381 rifles, 226 shotguns and 49 assault weapons.
The gun buyback event in Oakland is being co-hosted by Youth UpRising, a local youth leadership organization, and Gun by Gun, a gun violence prevention group. It is partly dependent on the success of a fundraiser for the money ultimately used to pay for the guns.
“Every gun we take off the streets will make a difference,” Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said at a press conference last month.
Added city Police Chief Sean Whent: “The fewer guns there are in this town, the safer we all will be. The Oakland Police Department is proud to be part of anything that gets more guns off the streets because so many crimes involve guns.”