There have been many gun buybacks in the Bay Area since the Sandy Hook shooting last December, so KTVU decided to take a closer look at the recent crime stats in one local city to gauge their effectiveness.
Inside the weapons closet at Oakland Police headquarters are hundreds of guns voluntarily turned in at a gun buyback event last year. Many of the firearms found there are illegal to own.
"We do see weapons like this recovered at crime scenes," said Oakland Police Officer Johnna Watson.
Gun buybacks have increased in popularirty since the shooting at Sandy Hook. San Francisco, South San Francisco,Palo Alto, Oakland and Marin County have all held buybacks. The questions that remains: Does turning guns in reduce crime?
"It reduces the number of guns in a home where it's likely they would be stolen in a burglary," said Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan.
But the U.S. Justice Department seems to question the worth of gun buybacks. An internal Department of Justice memo leaked to the National Rifle Sssociation earlier this year called buybacks "ineffective unless massive and coupled with a ban."
"The simple fact is that gun buybacks don't work," said Alex Tabarrok, an economist and Director of Research for the Independant Institute in Oakland.
"That's not true in Oakland," said founding CEO of Youth Uprising Olis Simmons. His organization planned Oakland's buyback before Sandy Hook. The actual date fell just after the mass shooting. The line of cars waiting to turn in guns was 2 miles long.
"It takes one gun and one bullet to kill someone, and I pulled 400 off the street," said Simmons.
400 guns are still waiting to be test fired to see if any were used in a crime before they are melted down.
19-year-old Curtys Taylor told KTVU it's easy to get a gun in Oakland. He volunteered at Oakland's gun buyback last December. But he says guns in the hands of neighbors who treat each other like strangers is a bad mix.
"That's why it's so easy for violence to occur. People don't know each other so people can't care for each other," said Taylor.
And there's no buyback for the lives changed at both ends of a gun.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.