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)
Jimenez Arms Inc.
Lorcin Engineering Co.
Sedco Industries Inc.
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.