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Pot Club Owner Funds, IOUs Spur Hugely Successful Gun Buybacks In Oakland, SF

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Gun buyback events in San Francisco and Oakland proved to be more popular than originally planned, netting more than 600 guns over the weekend at $200 apiece.

Keith Stephenson, owner of a medical marijuana dispensary, funded the Oakland exchange with a $100,000 donation.

In San Francisco,  instead of turning back people when the money ran out, organizers handed out IOUs totaling $31,000.

Dr. Joe Marshall of the Omega Boys said he ran out of money after buying back 125 weapons, until San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr intervened.

“So I was ready to shut it down. Ready to walk out. Tell the crowd that’s all we got. Maybe another day. But Chief Suhr said, ‘No, no, no … we got all these guns, we got to get ‘em.”

Following that decision, Dr. Marshall gave out 157 IOUs, totaling $31,000, due in four days.

The police chief said he’s found the money, and would announce the benefactor on Wednesday.

“I’m not worried,” said Marshall. “’Cause I know the folks are going to show up next Saturday.”

Many of those who brought guns to sell said the slaughter of schoolchildren in Connecticut touched raw nerves.

“I don’t have to have the guns anymore,” said San Francisco resident Margaret Strauss. “ I’d like a different world.”

The money ran out in Oakland, too — but the program donor stepped in — pot club owner Keith Stephenson gave another $50,000 to keep it going.

San Francisco Police said the weekend’s gun buyback program was so successful, the community groups that organized it are planning a statewide gun exchange and are looking for sponsors.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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