OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Police Chief Sean Whent and community leaders said Wednesday that they hope a gun buyback event planned for next month will take a significant number of guns off of the city’s streets.
Speaking at a news conference at Youth UpRising, an East Oakland community group that is co-hosting the Dec. 14 event, Quan said, “Every gun we take off the streets will make a difference.”
Whent said, “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,” he said.
Youth UpRising has organized several gun buyback events in recent years. Its CEO, Olis Simmons, said the Dec. 14 event is part of a statewide gun buyback initiative and that he believes California will be the first state to have such a large-scale event.
Simmons said the organizers of the Oakland gun buyback want to raise at least $50,000 so that they have enough money to pay to people who turn in their weapons.
She said more than $100,000 was raised for a joint Oakland-San Francisco gun buyback event last year and that 80 percent of the 600 guns that were surrendered in Oakland were assault weapons or handguns.
The other group that is co-hosting the Dec. 14 event is Gun by Gun, which was formed earlier this year to prevent gun violence by reducing the number of illegal guns in communities.
Ian Johnstone, the group’s founder, said he created it because his father was fatally shot by a gun-wielding youth in an attempted robbery in San Francisco about 20 years ago.
“I grew up without a father and my family members were determined to prevent what happened to us from happening to other families,” he said.
Johnstone said people who want to help can donate $100 to pay for taking a gun off the streets.
“It’s a small step but a powerful one when you take a gun out of your community,” he said.
Among the others who participated in the news conference Wednesday were Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker and council members Libby Schaaf, Dan Kalb and Noel Gallo.
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