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Gun buyback event in Oakland hopes to make community safer

OAKLAND - While mass shootings get the most press coverage, everyday incidents of gun violence harm communities across the county in similar ways. In Oakland -- a city once infamous for violent crime -- a buyback program hopes to ease that pain.

"The last time I seen her, she was walking out to go to school," said Chalinda Hatcher. Her daughter, Shamara Young was shot and killed riding in her Uncle Joshua's car eight months ago during a road rage incident. "Aside from the Texas mass shooting, we are dealing with gun violence every day in Oakland. It's ridiculous. I am so sick and tired of it," Hatcher told KPIX5. 

Chalinda gets angry every time she hears of another life lost and wonders why nothing is done. "This is definitely a club that I don't like being in. Not at all. I wouldn't wish this on nobody - not even my worst enemy. The pain of losing your child is just indescribable."

She hopes programs like this weekend's planned gun buyback in Oakland put a dent in the mass of weapons on the streets. 

OPD Captain Roland Holmgren does too. "I think what we see in our streets is this saturation of firearms," he said. Holmgen knows someone who turns in a gun likely isn't the problem, but sees gun buybacks as a way to prevent some weapons from getting stolen homes where they weren't properly cared for or stored. Nearly 150 guns were reported lost or stolen in Oakland last year. 

"You gotta imagine somebody who is going to steal a firearm is not going to steal that for legitimate purposes. We want to remove the potential to hurt and harm our community." In 2021, OPD pulled 1200 weapons off the streets - that number is already up 20 percent year to date. 

Some of the weapons bought back last year were melted down into garden tools, which will be given out along with cold hard cash at this weekend's buyback. 

Shamara's uncle thinks about the day his baby niece died a lot. "The fact that I was the one driving the car. There's a lot of regret that I get. A lot. A lot of guilt," said Joshua Hatcher. 

Every morning, Chalinda thinks about the teenage girl wearing a backpack, that walked out the door - never to come home again. "Every time I think about her, my chest hurts. Like, I just get so sad."

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