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Hundreds of guns collected at East Palo Alto buyback

Original post made on Feb 25, 2013

It took less than three hours Saturday, Feb. 23, to collect 355 firearms at a three-city gun buyback event in East Palo Alto, the first private/public buyback of its kind on the Midpeninsula. The event was so popular, the organizers ran out of funds.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 25, 2013, 9:43 AM

Comments (20)

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Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

Many Thanks to the organizers, law enforcement agencies, and those who volunteered or donated funds for this effort!

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

How many of these guns were used in crimes in Palo Alto?

What an easy way for someone to get rid of a murder weapon?

Glad that they are off the streets though.

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Posted by Abe Mitchell
a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm

What a wonderful display of honesty and loyality to the people exchanging guns for monies. Very well done to all concerned and hopefully round two shall produce even better results.

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Posted by anon
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Great. Are they aware that most of the people who turned up bought $20 guns at a pawnshop and made a quick profit? Do they have plans to run an alcohol buyback or drug buyback to combat DUI?

Gun control is a good idea. Gun buyback is a stupid way to do it.

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Posted by j99
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Yes, buy a gun for $35 and sell it to the "trade in" for 100$ so they can buy a better one. Sounds like the Hollywood crowd came up with this idea. So the ususal suspect organizers can feel good about themselves and put a gold star on their honor card for the day. More idiocy.
People should have spent the time teaching someone how to read or math or gone to the shelter and walked a dog, which would all make a difference to the community. This is the usual cheap power play.

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Posted by John Galt
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

No one turned in an "Assault Rifle". Your political masters continue to lie to you and you swallow every bit and plead for more!
Assualt Rifles are machine guns, any one turning one in would be arrested on a Federal Weapons charge. (maybe they get a free pass 'cause they are "the good guys")
How many were charged with possesing unregistered hand guns? (none I'm sure (same free pass)
Point is: The state is not interested in enforcing the existing laws, only passing new ones and playing "feel good" games.
No Gang Banger or Drug Dealer divested themselves of ANY firearms, they always have a good laugh at "Buy Back Follies". Lots more unarmed sheep to fleece. Probably even profit by getting rid of junk.
P.S How may someone "buy back" something they never owned?
Clever but pointless rhetoric.
Please think, think, and think again!

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Are you negative commenters psychic? How do you know what people will do w/the money? How do you know where the guns came from? How do you know they're not assault rifles? Were you there? Did you take inventory & interview thf hundreds of people in the Bay Area who went to it? Do you have secret squirrel police info?

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Posted by Cash cow
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Chances are good that a lot of these guns were stolen and sold cheaply on the black market, then sold to the buy-back program for a pretty profit.

I often wonder if many of the guns are also old and rusty, or not operative, and that the owners are turning in useless guns while keeping the shiny new ones.

A good point was made about the possibility that some of these weapons were used in crimes, and have now been disposed of with a payoff.

If something seems to good to be true, it usually IS too good to be true, and that is how this buy-back strikes me. It is just too simple.

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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Maybe Cash cow can actually research how the buybacks are organized and how they are regulated. You really think THAT many criminals showed to with guns used in crimes?

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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2013 at 7:49 pm

> How do you know what people will do w/the money?
> How do you know where the guns came from?
> How do you know they're not assault rifles?
> Were you there? Did you take inventory & interview
---thf hundreds of people in the Bay Area who went to it?
> Do you have secret squirrel police info?

All valid questions. And all questions that should have been answered by the police as a matter of course.

Wonder if the police will be making this information available to the public, or not?

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Posted by 2nd-Amendment-Defender
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 26, 2013 at 10:20 am

> Activist Mindy Finkelstein, who has been working with
> the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, told the
> story of how she was shot at 16 years old along with
> several others at the North Valley Jewish Community
> Center by a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi.

> "Our rights should not go on without regulation," she said.
> "(Dianne) Feinstein's regulation won't pass without our support."

Ms. Finkelstein’s comments should be seen as truly offensive to every good American. We have spent over four centuries trying to create a country that is free, and where we have a rights-based society, where we individuals can expect to be free of an oppressive government, and where our rights can not be taken away from us at the whim of some special interest groups, or people like Diane Feinstein.

The idea that Ms. Feinstein, or Finkelstein, would “regulate” our 2nd Amendment Rights makes if likely that both would have no trouble regulating our 1st, 4th and 5th Amendment Rights, also. These four fundamental rights (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th), and “habeas corpus”, have separated the US from other countries for over two centuries now. It’s very difficult to imagine our society with any of these rights diminished. Yet—we have someone like Mindy Finkelstein, ready to trash the basis of our American Experience. Why? What contributions to America can Ms. Finkelstein point to that differentiates her opinion, her knowledge, her goals, from the rest of in a way that she believes that her opinion should prevail over that of the rest of us?

Has Ms. Finkelstein ever served in the US military? Has she ever saluted our flag with pride, knowing that over 80M American men and women have served under that flag, to keep America free? Or would we find that Ms. Finkelstein would be horrified because these men and women bore arms, and in many cases—were forced to kill other human beings to preserve her the freedom to speak so recklessly about the future of our Rights?

Ms. Finkelstein is probably more dangerous in her thinking than most of the criminals with guns are.

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Posted by twolitergunowner
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2013 at 2:18 pm

None of the line officers endorse this, only the political shills of the departments. Most worked the detail as they are cutting back on overtime. We shake our heads in wonder at the attacks on legal gun owners, while the criminals remain untouched by the courts, encouraged and protected by the libs and progressives Why is it ok for you to attack my civil rights? don't you think there will be push back at some point? Lets see how long the online staff will let an opposing view remain on before they remove the post!

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm

How do gun buybacks hurt legal gun owners or erode their rights? Answer: They don't, so grow up & quit creating a problem where there isn't one.

And really to the other nasty commenter - it's already been proven that Mindy Finkelstein isn't nearly as dangerous as a gun-toting criminal. She's lucky to have lived to tell about it. Your slippery slope argument doesn't work, pal. How dare you disparage a woman who, as a youth, was shot by a criminal committing a hate crime? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by twolitergunowner
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Take the guns away from the law abiding citizens and leave the rest to the bad guys. Gun buy backs do not work. It gives cash to the hand wringing liberals, gives the do gooder's that know whats best for the rest of us something to do and allows criminals to give the police evidence of their crimes to destroy for them. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," they say, all the while taking away the rights of those that oppose the agenda you favor. The online staff will protect your opinion. I watch the double standard everyday, specially when you post. They only allow liberal opinion, in spite of that document your side treads so heavily upon. They, like the government, will soon silence the opposition.

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Posted by Maggie Nols
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 26, 2013 at 9:14 pm

...and a hearty congrats to "twolitergunowner" for her Godwin Award!

Other than that, her post is nonsensical: gun buybacks DO work - they remove unwanted guns. That's all they are intended to do, and that's all that they do.

Enjoy your trophy.... thanks for playing!

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 26, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Yes, twoliter - I'm a fascist. Wait, I'm a lib. No, wait, I'm a Nazi! Me & my pal Obama are coming for your guns right now! That's what a gun buyback is - we're so good at it, we manipulate you into bringing your own guns to us, sitting in traffic while we make you wait, eating donuts w/the cops & politicos.

Ironically, the friends I have who've willingly turned guns in to the buybacks are both Repub males who believe heartily in their right to own weapons that so easily kill. So they're the only ones I know who've had money handed to them. But at least they're not paranoid!

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2013 at 7:33 am

Yesterday there was something that appears to have been a shoot out in a private garage area in Santa Cruz and two police were shot and killed.

Anyone who defends gun ownership for protection must think deeper than "rights". Those police officers had "rights" too, and so did their families. They had the "right" to do their job and their families had the "right" to expect them home at the end of the day.
The shooter may or may not have been a seasoned criminal, he may or may not have had mental illness, he may or may not have owned the gun legally. But he had no "right" to kill police.

This country is changing and I for one do not like what I see. Shootings are a daily occurrance and they are not always gang/drugs related, or nutters. There is no sane way to prevent this country from returning to the Wild West without strict gun control. Even in a country with some of the strictest gun control in the World, Oscar Pitorius can kill his girlfriend either by mistake or in the course of an argument, all because he owned a gun for self protection.

Less guns in society must be the goal.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2013 at 9:15 am

Resident - the Santa Cruz shooter was first a Peeping Tom who then allegedly sexually assaulted a woman, then he became a murderer when the cops came to interview him, then he became dead. If he didn't have a gun, the situation could've been de-escalated, most likely. It's horrifying. But it's the fault of gun buybacks & fascists & people who've survived mass shootings who want to improve gun control.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 27, 2013 at 9:51 am


I agree with you that the the situation could have de-escalated if the shooter didn't have a gun. He may now have been arrested and the law investigating his alledged crimes but cop killing would not have been one of them. It is horrifying, agreed.

But, I can't see that it can be blamed on gun buybacks and people who have survived mass shootings. I don't blame it on the gun either, but the hands that held the gun hold the responsibility.

My point is that we can never tell if someone who has a gun in their possession is going to use it to kill others. I can't see how we can tell if a gun owner is going to use it unlawfully. It seems that more and more gun owners are using them unlawfully or having them stolen by those who will use them unlawfully. I can't see how we can tell if someone has some inherent breakpoint where their behavior may turn irrational. I can't see how we can tell if someone is a potential peeping tom, domestic abuser, or vigilante. Those questions aren't likely to be covered on any form. Every potential shooter is completely innocent at some stage in their life before they have a criminal history. At that time of being innocent it is quite possible that they may choose to be a gun owner completely unaware of how they may use that gun in the future. We can't possibly find a method of weeding them out before they start their life of crime. We can't possibly say to one person, you are a potential threat to society before that person has even committed one crime. Therefore there is no way of discriminating who are the sane and resposible people to allow them to be gun owners.

There is a factory shooting in Switzerland today. Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the highest gun ownership. Once again, the system has not prevented the deaths of innocent people and changed the lives of many of the survivors and all their families forever. Lives have been changed by gun ownership.

I think we have to ask ourselves some hard questions.

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Posted by Adrian
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

Wow. Contentious debate. Never would have expected. But Serious.

@John Galt: I agree with you about the fact that much of the general public, and especially the news media, does not know the difference between an "Assault Weapon" and a hole in the ground. Like you said, "Assault Weapons", which are fully automatic, are already illegal under the NFA. However, one goal of Gun Buybacks is to give people the opportunity to turn in firearms, illegal or otherwise, without consequences. So yes, it's illegal to remove to serial numbers, have a sawed-off, etc. - gun buybacks temporarily suspend prosecution of these crimes with the goal of removing these weapons from the market. Whether criminals will obtain/make more illegal weapons is a totally different question.

@Resident - "Every potential shooter is completely innocent at some stage in their life before they have a criminal history. " Agreed. So is every person who gets behind the wheel of a car and ends up killing someone, either because of negligence, or drinking, or whatever. The difference being, there is a constitutional amendment protecting individual rights to gun ownership. Don't get me wrong, SCOTUS has also stated that this right is not unlimited - I can't own a howitzer, for example. But your argument is exactly the kind of "slippery slope" that many law-abiding gun owners fear. I don't own any firearms, but I worry when people question a legal fact because they are scared of the consequences. If you don't like firearms, then you should try to get an amendment passed which prohibits private ownership of firearms.

IMO, the current gun-control debate is eerily similar to some groups "chipping away" at the rights of women to an abortion. For example, new laws which require 'waiting periods', or parental notification, or that a doctor must show you an ultrasound of the foetus... Just my two cents.

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