Firearms collected during gun buyback (Officer of the New Jersey Attorney General photo)

Speaking at a press conference today at the National Guard Armory in Lawrenceville, Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that nearly three thousand firearms were turned in by residents at state-and locally-sponsored gun buyback events that were held on Saturday, October 23 at ten locations in partnership with Bergen, Camden, Cumberland, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Salem, Somerset, and Union Counties.

Acting AG Bruck made the announcement with county prosecutors and law enforcement leaders from participating locations. The “Guns for Cash” events in Englewood, Camden, Bridgeton, Trenton, Somerset, Asbury Park, Carneys Point, Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield yielded 2,806 firearms.

Acting AG Bruck noted that the weapons collected at the ten locations included 1,196 handguns, 1,206 rifles/shotguns, and 29 assault weapons. A breakdown of the firearms collected by county is as follows:

Bergen County (Englewood)
County Prosecutor Mark Musella
Total weapons: 248
Assault weapons: 1
Rifles/shotguns: 95
Handguns: 119

Camden County (Camden City)
Acting County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer
Total weapons: 249
Assault weapons: 2
Rifles/shotguns: 101
Handguns: 120

Cumberland County (Bridgeton)
County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae
Total weapons: 391
Assault weapons: 10
Rifles/shotguns: 142
Handguns: 168

Mercer County (Trenton)
County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri
Total weapons: 194
Assault weapons: 2
Rifles/shotguns: 102
Handguns: 58

Middlesex/Somerset Counties (Somerset)
County Prosecutors Yolanda Ciccone & Michael H. Robertson
Total weapons: 621
Assault weapons: 2
Rifles/shotguns: 274
Handguns: 239

Monmouth County (Asbury Park)
Acting County Prosecutor Lori Linskey
Total weapons: 360
Assault weapons: 3
Rifles/shotguns: 133
Handguns: 159

Salem County (Carneys Point)
Acting County Prosecutor Kristin J. Telsey
Total weapons: 223
Assault weapons: 3
Rifles/shotguns: 92
Handguns: 86

Union County (Elizabeth, Plainfield, Westfield)
County Prosecutor William A. Daniel
Total weapons: 520
Assault weapons: 6
Rifles/shotguns: 267
Handguns: 247

New Jersey residents were invited to turn in up to three firearms of any type “no questions asked,” and could earn a maximum of $750. Under standardized pricing set for the buybacks, gun owners were paid $25 for inoperable firearms and BB/pellet guns, $125 for rifles and shotguns, $200 for handguns, and $250 for assault weapons. The buybacks were funded predominantly by forfeiture dollars obtained by the local police departments and County Prosecutors’ Offices, as well as forfeiture funds from the Division of Criminal Justice.

Each of the gun buybacks represented a collaboration between law enforcement and community stakeholders, who promoted and assisted with the events. The nearly three thousand guns collected at the buybacks were rendered inoperable by local police who staffed each event, and will be melted down.

“Every single gun recovered represents a potential life saved,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “Our gun buyback events are a great example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies work together with the communities they serve.”

“We are committed to doing everything in our power to reduce gun violence in New Jersey,” said Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We saw an outpouring of support from community members and leaders this past Saturday, and the latest results are proof positive that the gun buyback is a successful way for us to actively, collaboratively, and successfully participate in a united violence reduction effort.”

Statements of support from local leaders:

“Like so many public safety efforts, reducing gun violence requires a variety of strategies. In addition to our traditional and core law enforcement functions, we know that reducing the availability of guns, community engagement, and tackling addiction and poverty are just some of the ways we can make an impact,” said Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella. “Thank you, Acting Attorney General Bruck, for inviting the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and our local partners in the Englewood Police Department and Bergen County Sheriff’s Office to participate in the gun amnesty program.”

“The CCPO is proud to have been a part of this statewide initiative that resulted in thousands of guns being collected,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “Those guns will never make it to the streets or fall into the hands of a child because of the outstanding team effort, spearheaded by Acting Attorney General Bruck, and his vision for a safer New Jersey. This gun buy back was just one chapter in our mission to reduce gun violence in our county and state.”

“We are pleased with the results of the Gun Buy Back in Cumberland County,” said Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae. “391 firearms were collected and will not fall into the wrong hands as a result of this program.  We see this as one piece of an ongoing initiative to promote gun safety and eradicate gun violence in our community.  I would like to thank the Cumberland County Chiefs and Sheriff for their support in making this very important program a success.”

“Mercer County is proud to have played a part in such a successful collaboration,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri. “To see such a turnout from our citizens and community leaders was so encouraging and demonstrates people really want to make a difference.  Mercer County pledges to continue to put the work in every day to combat gun violence and remove illegal guns from our neighborhoods.”

“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is proud to have shepherded this important endeavor undertaken by Middlesex and Somerset law enforcement and made possible by the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone.  “With nearly 3,000 firearms safely recovered from across our State, these are weapons that can never find their way into the hands of those who would do harm to our communities.”

“We couldn’t be prouder of our results in Monmouth County, where more firearms were collected at a single site during a gun buyback event than at any point in more than eight years,” Acting Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Wojciechowski said. “Gun violence being a monumentally daunting public-safety concern, it is so deeply encouraging to consider that none of the 360 weapons turned in last weekend will ever be used to harm anyone. On behalf of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey, we extend our sincere thanks to our trusted partners with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Board of Monmouth County Commissioners, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, and Asbury Park Police Department for their assistance, and in particular to the Second Baptist Church of Asbury Park and Pastor Semaj Vanzant Sr. for their hospitality.”

“This program was a tremendous success for Salem County, allowing us to collect five times as many guns as at prior events,” said Acting Salem County Prosecutor Kristin J. Telsey. “Every gun collected represents the possibility that a life has been saved by removing the potential for a tragic accident or an act of violence as a result of that firearm.  While these programs alone will not end gun violence, the removal of 223 guns from Salem County alone does make a real difference.  Thank you to all of our partnering agencies and to every person who came out to make this effort such a success.”

“We welcome the opportunity to participate in the gun buyback program with our law enforcement partners throughout the State,” said Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson. “Reducing the amount of firearms that could potentially cause violence in our communities is a top priority for all of us and we will continue to participate in initiatives that make our neighborhoods safer.”

“I am pleased to share that Saturday’s gun buyback event in Union County netted a total of more than 520 unwanted firearms,” said Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel. “Through our partnerships with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Union County Board of County Commissioners, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union County, Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield police departments, local houses of worship, and with the enthusiastic participation of community members, countless acts of gun violence and unanticipated tragedy have been prevented.”

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy and Acting AG Bruck are leading a comprehensive, statewide effort to reduce gun deaths, which pairs the latest evidence-based policing strategies with innovative, community-based prevention programs. The three-pronged approach to tackling this public health crisis includes addressing the root causes of violence; keeping guns away from those most likely to harm others; and taking swift action against those who break the law.

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