Gun buyback program helped by anonymous donor
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In the Bay Area, authorities in San Francisco and Oakland are working to get guns off the streets.
425 guns were bought back at Saturday's event. and what made this program special is that it was funded by an anonymous donor. The person gave enough money to two Bay Area community agencies to get at least 500 guns off the streets.
More than 200 people braved long lines and cold temperatures to turn in their guns at the San Francisco Omega Boys Club. Many were brought here by the same tragedy -- the mass murder of 20 children in Connecticut.
"It hit me pretty strong," San Francisco resident Jose Najera said. When asked if that's why he brought the guns, he answered, "Yes, absolutely why I brought them. I never thought about getting rid of them before."
Najera is a Vietnam vet. He says he and his wife sobbed while watching the news.
"Seeing what happened yesterday we said we got to get rid of these you never can tell what kids now a days go through you know?" Najera said.
The gun buyback was funded by an anonymous donor who approached the Youth UpRising Program in Oakland. They in turn contacted the Omega Boys Club in San Francisco.
Director Dr. Joseph Marshall says the turnout shows both communities care about gun violence, "When the community says enough is enough I really think you get a real chance of something like this."
In Oakland, people lined up in their cars starting at 6 a.m. to turn in guns at St. Benedict's Church. That was where Olis Simmons, the director of Youth UpRising, and Oakland police were buying the guns.
"We have every anticipation that we will be exceeding our wildest expectations today," Simmons said.
The initial target was taking 500 guns off the street. A financial incentive also helped bring all the people out.
$200 dollars was paid for each handgun or rifle with a limit of three weapons for each resident. And people had to prove they resided in the city buying the guns.
Others who waited in line were like Lee Trusty, who turned in an antique rifle and two handguns. His motivation was personal safety, "Just getting them out of the house, you know? Just don't need 'em, don't use 'em."
Oakland police were asked by the Santa Clara County district attorney's office about how to start the same kind of program in the South Bay. Governor Brown is being asked by Oakland and San Francisco police agencies to make this kind of gun buyback a state program.
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