Oakland, California – Today the Oakland City Council approved District 4 Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao’s legislation that would fund and develop a gun buyback strategy for the City of Oakland. This program would tap into new state funding dedicated to helping local cities get guns off their streets in the midst of a national increase in gun purchases and gun violence.
Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao states: “Gun violence has increased nationally, and this epidemic has hit Oakland hard. Studies show that during the pandemic gun purchases and the production of new ‘ghost guns’ increased dramatically. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that with an increase of guns on our streets comes an increase in shootings and we need to respond to this crisis.”
“The State of California has dedicated tens of millions of dollars in grants so local cities can get guns off their streets. My legislation directs the Administration to apply for and use these grants to establish a strategy that helps in our efforts to reduce gun violence,” explained Sheng Thao, “gun buyback programs are an extremely effective way to rapidly get firearms off our streets and are an essential tool in our belt while we respond to violent crime.”
This legislation passed roughly a week after the city and community partners held a successful “Guns to Gardens” event in East Oakland. This event helped remove 131 firearms from Oakland’s streets; more than 10% of the total firearms seized by the Oakland Police department last year. Other recent events in Daly City and Marin have also been extremely successful.
Pastor Billy Dixon Jr. Co-Chair of Ceasefire and a co-organizer of the Guns to Gardens event, stated: “Oakland must approach violent crime and public safety in a comprehensive and thoughtful way, and gun buybacks are an important tool in these efforts. As we continue to scale up our holistic response to gun violence, we must acknowledge the impact the increased number of firearms has had in Oakland and we must do everything we can to help get those guns out of our communities. I am grateful for President Pro Tem Thao’s leadership and partnership on this issue and I look forward to working with her, the city, and our neighborhoods to continue our work to end gun violence in Oakland.”
Next steps will require the City to apply for and implement these grants in a comprehensive strategy. Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao looks forward to working with the Administration to make this happen.
“The city has made some headway in reducing gun violence in the last several months, but we have a lot of work to do before our residents feel safe on our streets. I am confident we can work together to ensure nobody dies from gun violence in Oakland again.” finished Pro Tem Thao.