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.

About twice a year, truckloads of guns destined to be destroyed are melted down in batches called “burns.” The last one happened in September.

Here’s a look at the guns that have been fed into a furnace:

NOTE: The data are a subset of the Oakland Police Department’s Firearms Inventory, which the City of Oakland withheld under an exemption to the California Public Records Act for information that “may endanger the successful completion of any current or prospective investigation, or may disclose investigative techniques.”

*There is no definitive list of inexpensive handguns kept by state or federal regulators. But multiple industry experts agreed that the following manufacturers produce guns with the defining qualities of size, cost and materials that characterize Saturday night specials:

Arcadia Machine & Tool (AMT)
Bryco Arms
Davis Industries
Jennings Firearms
Jimenez Arms Inc.
Lorcin Engineering Co.
Phoenix Arms
Raven Arms
Republic Arms
Rohm (RG)
SCCY Industries
Sedco Industries Inc.
Standard Arms
Sundance Industries

All gun icons from The Noun Project: Guns by Simon Child, Rifle By Mike, Rocket Launcher by Blaise Sewell.

This story was edited by Amy Pyle and copy edited by Nikki Frick.

Aaron Williams can be reached at, and Matt Drange can be reached at Follow them on Twitter: @aboutaaron and @mattdrange.

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Matt Drange is a reporter for Reveal, covering the business of guns. He previously reported on Silicon Valley and the intersection of technology and the environment. He won a James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists' Northern California chapter for his work on the Toxic Trail investigation, which exposed how mismanagement of Superfund cleanup sites often leads to substantially more harm than good. Prior to joining Reveal, Drange worked for the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, where he wrote about malfeasance in state government and the influence of money in politics. Drange started his career covering police and courts for the Eureka Times-Standard in California. He earned a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and did his undergraduate work at Humboldt State University. Drange is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Aaron Williams is a news applications developer for Reveal, focusing on front-end development, data analysis and data visualization. He previously served as a web producer for the Los Angeles Times and received a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Francisco State University. Williams is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.