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Guns For Guns N' Roses Tix A Big Hit In Oakland


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(BCN) OAKLAND Organizers of a gun exchange in Oakland Saturday said the event was a success since three dozen guns were taken off the street.

"I want to get a billion guns off the street," said gun exchange coordinator Joe DeVries. But for now, DeVries was happy with 36.

Organizers and police collected the guns in the parking lot of McAfee Coliseum.

DeVries said the 20 handguns and 12 rifles picked up would be sent to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms so they can be melted down and turned into manhole covers.

DeVries was particularly pleased that the event was able to get a few guns known as "Saturday night specials," or "junk guns," off the street. DeVries said junk guns are small, cheap and easily concealed.

Those who turned in guns were given a prize in exchange, such as tickets to a Warriors game, tickets to an upcoming Guns N' Roses concert, a tabletop oven or gift cards for Wal-Mart and Sears.

"We gave away a prize average of $100 per gun," DeVries said. "Some (guns) were worth far more, some were worth far less. We did have one man who turned in seven guns, (so) we gave him a few extra Guns N' Roses tickets."

Though the event was intended to collect handguns and rifles, some people brought in high-powered pellet guns.

"We don't necessarily want those but if you bring them we'll take them," DeVries said. The same goes for knives, according to DeVries.

DeVries said organizers will hold another gun exchange next Saturday in West Oakland.

"If you missed it this week, please do come out next week," he said.

DeVries stressed that "people don't need to be afraid of getting arrested" during the event.

"If (the gun is) not registered in your name, you have amnesty," DeVries explained. "Even if you stole the gun, you'll be given amnesty. We really want people to understand this is not some weird police ploy. We really just want to get (the guns) off the street."

However, police do need to collect identification to contact the person who exchanged the gun in case police learn that the gun had been used in a homicide.

Those planning on bringing a gun to the next exchange should follow the guidelines set out by organizers and police to ensure everyone's safety.

"Bring (the gun) in the trunk of your car and unloaded in a bag. If you don't have a car, bring it on foot but again, in a bag," DeVries said. "A police officer will take it out of the trunk of the car. We don't want any mishaps."

Ammunition can also be turned in as long as it is in a bag, according to DeVries.

The next gun exchange will be held Dec. 9 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at deFremery Park located at 1651 Adeline St. in Oakland.

DeVries noted that the gun exchange is not restricted to Oakland residents.

"If people want to come in and bring guns from other places, we'll take it," DeVries said. "Guns don't know borders."

Those who cannot make it to the next gun exchange can still turn in their unwanted guns.

"Anytime you make the wise decision to turn over a dangerous weapon you can turn (it) in to any police department," DeVries said. In fact, "the police department will send someone to your house to pick up your gun. We take it that seriously because of the number of accidental shootings and stolen weapons."

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