Gun buyback nets hundreds of firearms
The latest gun buyback program in New Jersey - a one day affair in Union County - resulted in 480 handguns, rifles and automatic weapons being turned in to authorities.
Participants were paid up to $250 per firearm. A total of $43,500 in criminal forfeiture funds were handed out.
"The program was a no-questions-asked, amnesty-based initiative, no personal information or identification was required to surrender the firearms, or to collect payment," said Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park.
Park said most of the weapons that were collected will be destroyed, while others will be held for historical purposes.
"In the following weeks, the vast majority of them will be destroyed, and a few will be collected for our county museum," Park said.
This was the second buyback program in Union County in the past year.
Park said it is her sincere believe that any of the firearms turned in "could have carried the potential to contribute to a tragedy that we prevented by taking these guns off the street - a suicide, a fatal shooting, a child finding a handgun in a shoe-box in a closet."
"We're not just concerned with gun crimes on the streets, we're also concerned with accidents," she said. "We're concerned with children getting a gun and potentially having an accident with a gun, a potentially fatal accident."
Acting Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan agreed.
"When you look at all of these guns, whether it's a revolver, whether it's an automatic or whether it's a rifle, they all share one thing in common, they all will never have the opportunity to kill an innocent victim," Cryan said.
Park said the bottom line here is "taking every gun of the street that we can prevents violence in the community."
She pointed out the New Jersey Attorney General's Office has sponsored about 10 gun buy-back programs over the past few years, but this effort by Union County was one of the first county-sponsored initiatives in the state.