The Oakland, California, Police Department has destroyed more than 2,000 guns since 2010. Some were surrendered or purchased in buyback programs, while many were recovered during criminal investigations. All were melted down at a foundry in East Oakland.
Each gun has its own story. Data recently released by the department in response to a public records request provide a glimpse of those tales.
The numbers provide a glimpse of the kinds of weapons recovered on the streets of the Oakland, where there were 489 homicides during the same five-year period, data collected by the city show. Oakland has a history of tracking guns used to commit crimes and was one of a handful of cities nationally to participate in a now-defunct gun trace initiative by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
On average, roughly one to two guns are entered into the urban police department’s inventory per day. Some are never melted down and instead used for training or stripped for parts needed for ballistics tests, among other things.