PUBLIC SAFETY: A state legislative committee this morning sent a bill to the full Assembly calling for the Attorney General’s Office to conduct at nine gun backbacks statewide each year — with three each in New Jersey’s north, south and central regions.
At least one buyback in each would have to be in an urban, high crime area.
“We realize a gun buyback program alone will not eliminate gun violence,” said Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Essex, “but it can help enhance public safety by reducing the number of firearms in circulation.”
Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman’s office has held ten buybacks since 2012, netting nearly 16,000 firearms.
Nearly 12% of them were illegal, Hoffman said.
Last April, Bergen County collected 1,345 firearms, along with 55,000 rounds of ammo.
Passaic County followed weeks later with 1,900 guns.
As a result, authorities say, none of the weapons will be stolen and used in a street crime, to turn a domestic argument into a homicide, to accidentally kill or wound a curious child, or to claim the life of a police officer.
Among the firearms collected:
- Tec 9 firearms with 32-round magazine capacities;
- AK-47 assault rifles;
- M1 rifles;
- sawed-off shotguns with pistols grips;
- double-barreled, sawed-off shotguns.
State and county criminal forfeiture funds are used to buy back the guns. Drop-off points are at area churches.
Those who’ve turned in their weapons have received up to $250 per gun, with a maximum limit of three.
Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris, approved moving the measure out of committe today but said he wished not all of the weapons were destroyed.
Some are “beautiful, historic,” he said.
PHOTO, TOP: Maywood Police Chief David Pegg inspects guns turned in and collected at the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office in Hackensack (Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)
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