OAKLAND — When the lines at Saturday's three gun exchange locations snaked around several city blocks and the money ran out, Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker had a choice to make: Turn people and their guns away, or give them vouchers for a future payday.

Tucker opted for the IOUs. As a result more than 1,000 weapons were turned in — many by gun dealers — and the final tally was significantly higher than the 300 guns organizers expected to collect. State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata raised about $80,000 from private donors, but the cash-strapped Police Department is on the hook for at least $170,000.

Just where the department will come up with that much cash is anyone's guess.

"OPD is picking up the rest," said police spokesman Roland Holmgren. "Where will we get it?That's a good question. I don't think we've really identified that yet."

Given the fact that from Friday through Sunday seven of 10 people shot died, the department fully realizes the importance of keeping weapons out of the wrong hands, he said.

He said the police department would probably ask the City Council and Perata for help. Council President Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) was not optimistic.

"I think that Mr. Perata and the police department have to pay for it," De La Fuente said. "What can I say? The chief is the one who authorized it, we didn't authorize it."

Alicia Trost, Perata's spokesperson, said the senator would meet with the police chief "to figure out where to go from here." He was already talking about sponsoring another event, she said.

She said Perata made it clear when he announced the gun buy-back event last month that his goal was to take in 100 guns each at three different locations. He based that estimate on previous buy-back events.

During Oakland's last gun exchange people were offered tickets to a Guns N' Roses concert. Result: 67 guns turned in.

So why was this one so popular? Perata upped the ante when he offered $250 cash per gun, no questions asked or identification required. The event was widely advertised in the media, as well as on flyers that were distributed far and wide. The Golden State Warriors even did a public service announcement.

Holmgren said some people left the line rather than provide information so the police department could contact them when it was time to get paid.

Still, the massive turnout caught everyone by surprise.

"There were some people who took advantage of the system," Holmgren said. "We didn't expect to have people come from Reno. Some were gun dealers who couldn't get rid of them any other way. They came in with 30 or 50 guns, and some still had price tags on them, like $35. Who else has that many guns?"

The first two people in line at Christian Cathedral on Coolidge Avenue were gun dealers with 60 guns in the trunk of their car. At that point, the sponsors instituted a five-gun limit, but from the first moment Perata's fund was already half gone at that location, Trost said.

"Chief Tucker actually made the decision to issue the vouchers rather than turn them away," she said. "We're very grateful that people didn't waste their entire morning."

That, of course, is a matter of opinion.

The resulting traffic jams infuriated residents who got caught up in the mess. People who waited hours to turn in their weapons, including those who left when they heard the sponsors ran out of money and didn't hear that vouchers were being offered, were not charitable in their opinions either.

"I observed people from all different cities in California turning in guns," wrote Rosie Anderson in an e-mail to the Oakland Tribune. "I don't see how getting guns off the streets of Fresno and other cities will help cut crime in Oakland."

William Edge and his brother waited more than two hours in traffic to find out he wouldn't be paid for turning in his rifle.

"It was the most incompetent fiasco I have been involved in," he wrote, fuming that poor traffic control allowed people to cut in ahead of those who had been waiting for a long time. "I never read where there was a 100-gun limit. On Coolidge there were over 90 people in line in a hour, so most of the people were left out."

Jim Hildreth, a former Oakland resident who now lives in Sonora, said he applauded Perata's efforts to get guns off the streets, even if people were overpaid for their weapons in some cases.

"When it comes to the maiming of someone's life, $250 is nothing," Hildreth said.

All the guns will be tested to make sure they were not used in a crime, Holmgren said. Once that is done, the guns will be turned over to The Crucible, a nonprofit art studio, where they will be turned into some sort of peace sculpture.