On a Saturday morning in San Francisco, cars lined the block with guns in tow, and people lined up on foot with handguns, rifles and automatic weapons. In a few minutes, they’d exchange their guns for cash, and their guns would get carted away and melted down into an unusable metal blob.
During the yearly gun buyback in San Francisco, United Playaz, a community-run organization, aims to get guns off the streets. They take guns on a “no-questions-asked” basis, meaning people who have unregistered guns can turn them in to community members who work with the police to get the guns destroyed.
“Any gun that is off the streets could save anybody’s life. One bullet coming out that chamber doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t ask your age. It doesn’t ask who you are,” said Rudy Corpuz Jr., founder and executive director of United Playaz, a violence-prevention and youth development organization in San Francisco.
United Playaz’s motto, “It takes the hood to save the hood,” reflects the belief that community members are the best hope to prevent deaths and injuries in neighborhoods experiencing high levels of gun violence.
“You got suicide, you got domestic violence, you have mentally ill. So any gun that was turned in today is a win.” -Rudy Corpuz
“I’ve been victimized by gun violence. I’ve been shot five times,” said San Francisco resident Damien Posey, who works with United Playaz. He says being on both sides of gun violence has motivated him to work within the community to try to help young people.
United Playaz paid $100 per handgun and $200 for assault rifles. Community businesses, a few of which were cannabis companies, supplied the donation money that United Playaz used to buy the guns back. 317 items were collected in total, including 17 assault rifles, according to SFPD.