Today I had the pleasure of speaking to Rudy Corpuz Jr. of United Playaz. It is an organization in San Francisco that operates in the heart of the South of Market (SoMa) district, one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city. They really do live by their motto, “IT TAKES THE HOOD TO SAVE THE HOOD” and I couldn’t agree more. In the coming weeks I will be writing several blogs about this awesome organization and get in depth with all of the wonderful things they do for the community. This weekend they will be holding a gun buy-back where anyone, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, can drop off a firearm (handgun or rifle) and receive cash for it. This is all in the effort to get guns off the street.
Rudy told me a staggering statistic that 1 in 3 households with children have guns and many are unlocked AND loaded. He wanted to make clear that the organization is not against the Second Amendment but supports getting guns off the streets. He really had me taken back when he said, “Who knows? One of the guns that we are able to collect might be the gun that saves a person that might save the world.” WOW!
The gun buy-back is supported by the San Francisco Police Department and they are present at the exchange location to safely collect the firearms. At a previous gun buy-back a bazooka/rocket launcher was collected and the SFPD Bomb Squad had to retrieve it from the trunk of the car dropping it off which was proper protocol for both the person dropping it off and for the police department. The buy-back is typically a 4 hour event and on the average they are able to collect almost 300 guns. That is about 75 guns an hour or 1 firearm ever 1 minute and 15 seconds. Some people even drop off more than one gun.
After the collection or drop off portion of the buy-back is completed the guns are tagged by the SFPD. They check the serial numbers on the firearms and if they were stolen the owners are contacted so it can be claimed. If the firearm(s) were used in a crime it will be booked into evidence. The remaining guns are melted.
The United Playaz has partnered with Lead to Life which is an organization that is in partnership with local artists and metal-smiths to make shovels and tools out of the metal. They then use the transformed metal and plant trees in the neighborhood to honor those that have been killed by gun violence. Rudy participated in planting trees one of which was planted in honor of the late Mayor Ed Lee who was an instrumental supporter of the gun buy-back program. The planting of the trees is a symbol of putting life back in the community with the guns that may have once taken a life.
As I was talking to Rudy I not only felt his passion but also his genuine love and concern for the safety of every human being on this planet especially those from his hood. Thank you Rudy and to the United Playaz , the SFPD and all of those involved in this program. You are making a difference in the community!
1038 Howard Street
June 30, 2018
8am to 12 Noon