A buyback program, which aimed to abolish weapons before they can start tragedies, gathered San Franciscans wanting to free themselves from firearms on Saturday morning, KPIX reported.
“There’s a long line of cars, people who walk up, people who bring handguns and assault rifles,” SF supervisor Matt Haney said. “It’s incredible how many guns there are out there and how many people actually want to get rid of them.”
Starting at 8 in the morning, people arrive on Howard Street in SoMa for the buyback program. Removing unwanted firearms inside the household is a step for many from preventing it from going into the wrong persons with bad intentions. They also get an incentive while getting rid of the weapon.
“One hundred dollars for a handgun, two hundred for an assault rifle — no questions asked. You just drive up. You could have a trunkful. Open your trunk, they count the number out — cash you out,” the group, United Playaz’ member Everett Butler, said.
The said group, which believes that the advocacy against gun violence can sometimes be more credible if it comes from a non-government body, has marked its 10th year of conducting the buyback program this 2021.
“I’ve been shot five times, did 10 years in prison for a gun and changed my life,” Damien Posey, event coordinator, said. “And now I’m back and saying we need to do this. And they’re not used to hearing people who come from that background say that so, I believe, it definitely has an added effect to it.”
The program was held without gathering information, like names, from the participants. No questions were also asked. Instead, police only come into vehicles to secure the weapons.
According to San Francisco Police Department Capt. Tim Falvey, buybacks do not only prevent weapons from going into the hands of people with criminal minds, but also stop violence involving kids, persons in domestic conflict, and in mental health situations.
“If they don’t have that means to hurt themselves, maybe it gives them time to reach out for help and prevent themselves from harming themselves,” he said. “And that’s an important part of this as well.”
Donations from the city and the public have helped fund the program.
A total of 265 guns were submitted to the program and the last one was destroyed by Posey using a sledgehammer, which became the program’s tradition.