Oakland, SF Police Say Newtown Tragedy Increased Gun Buybacks

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

In the wake of the massacre at an elementary school in  Connecticut, police in Oakland and San Francisco were overwhelmed with people  handing over firearms at gun buyback events this weekend, San Francisco  police Chief Greg Suhr said today.

Nearly 300 guns were brought to the event on Saturday at the Omega  Boys Club in San Francisco on Saturday while about 300 more were brought to  Saint Benedict's Church in Oakland, Suhr said.

 "We far exceeded whatever we thought we could get ... based on all  the other gun buybacks," he said.

Residents who turned in a working, unloaded gun received $200 per  gun on up to three guns, but because of the high volume of guns handed over,  roughly half of the people had to be given vouchers for the money and  organizers are currently looking for funding sources to pay them, Suhr said.

The chief said the high numbers were likely attributed to the  shooting that left more than two dozen students and staff dead at an  elementary school a day earlier, a case Suhr called "unimaginable."

He said, "We're doing everything we can make sure that those  things don't happen ever again anywhere."

Speaking at an unrelated event in the city's Bayview District  today, Suhr said many of the people who came to the gun buyback event were  relieved to be rid of the firearm.

"A lot of the commentary we got was 'I'm so glad I get to have  this out of my house,'" he said, adding that there are also "a lot of cops  here in the Bayview that are happy that those guns are off the streets."   

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