I was at all three sites for the buy-back in the morning and spent the rest of the day at True Vine Church in West Oakland.
There was universal bewilderment at all of these out-of-towners, usually EuroAmerican males riding three and four deep in Hummers and large trucks, coming into Oakland with stockpiles of all types of weaponry.
The 1997 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) report, "Juvenile Crime Gun Tracing Studies," featured Oakland as one of 17 cities in the U.S. where every juvenile crime gun was traced to its source.
The results showed that the common juvenile crime gun, found usually on an African-American juvenile, was originally purchased by a EuroAmerican male between the ages of 35-45 years old who lived outside of Oakland.
Trader's Gun Store in neighboring San Leandro, owned by a EuroAmerican, was the primary gun store selling these weapons originally.
After 30 years of investigating illegal sales, Trader's was finally shut down by the BATF in 2006.
These guns were then sold on the street as straw purchases because there is no accountability for lost or stolen weapons.
As in most civilized societies, a complete ban on ownership of handguns and assault weapons is the ultimate solution to plugging this gaping loophole.
Universal annual registration and licensing of gun owners would be an important first step toward getting us closer to that day.
While planners may not have foreseen how the "gunnies," who hate the senator for authoring the only effective assault weapons ban in the country, would try and game the buy back, those of us who have been advocating against gun violence for years were not really surprised.
So thanks again to Perata for providing an educational moment for the people who always ask, "where are these guns coming from?"
Soto is violence prevention coordinator in Alameda County and a Richmond resident.