Newtown Tragedy Sparks Big Gun Buyback Crowds

Many of the people turning in guns said they were motivated by the mass shooting in Newtown

A gun buyback day in San Francisco and Oakland brought out huge crowds Saturday as local residents turned over firearms for cash.

Each person turning in a working firearm to police was given $200 cash. The line was around the block in San Francisco where the group ran out of cash by early afternoon and started handing out I.O.U.'s.

A woman named Jean-Margaret Strauss was one of the first in line.  She said the shooting in Newtown helped motivate her to turn in three guns that used to be her father's. She said her guns weren't jeopardizing anyone, but turning them in was a way to honor her family history. She said she kept her dad's holster and plans to put gardening tools in it. "I don't have to keep a hold of the guns," Strauss said.

In Oakland, police said the response was even bigger. They expect to take back 300 guns Saturday. Police spokesperson Johnna Watson said people there turned in assault rifles, AK47s and other weapons that were known to be stolen.

At one point, the line in Oakland, including cars, stretched for nearly two miles. "I've never seen anything like it," Watson said.

Police said they couldn't be happier to pay $200 in order to get those weapons off of the street.

There was a limit of three person and people did not have to make themselves available for background checks.

The buyback program is part of a regional effort to get guns off the street and was funded by an anonymous donor.

"When we remove guns off our streets that could be used in a crime, we reduce the possibility of our youth and community being a victim," Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said.

In Oakland people brought the firearms to Saint Benedict's Church on 82nd Avenue. In San Francisco they came to The Omega Boy's Club on Tennessee Street.

Youth UpRising in partnership with the Community Enrichment Organization, and The Omega Boy's Club hosted the event in cooperation with the police departments in Oakland and San Francisco.

Youth UpRising is a transformation center dedicated to increasing the safety and well being of Oakland residents.

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