As the debate continues on gun violence and how best to prevent it, one Garden State lawmaker is urging all Central New Jersey residents to turn in any automatic or semi-automatic weapons they may have lying around the house, during a special gun buy-back program being held at the end of this week.

David Matthau, Townsquare Media
David Matthau, Townsquare Media

State Senator Shirley Turner says, "We know that the criminals are not going to give up their guns, but at the same time, if there are guns on the street or in the homes laying around they can possibly be stolen and be used in the commission of a crime, or during the heat of an argument if there's a gun in the home, someone may grab that gun and use it, and regret it forever - and we have children who can gain access to these guns…People cling to their guns more tightly than they cling to their bibles."

Semi-Automatic Guns Not Available When Constitution Was Written

She says, "It's hard to get people to really realize that the Second Amendment does not entitle you to have an automatic or a semi-automatic weapon. When the Constitution was written, all they had was a musket. I don't have any problem with everybody owning a musket, but you don't need semi-automatic weapons to hunt -I'd hate to see the rabbit or the deer that you shoot with a semi-automatic weapon. It just doesn't make sense."

Turner adds, "I earned sharp-shooter bar two when I was in high school, I was a member of the rifle team and was number two in terms of shooting in my senior year and I did not use a semi-automatic rifle -you don't need those types of weapons in order to enjoy target shooting."

She also points out, "There's no reason why people should be allowed to buy ammunition if they aren't legal gun owners."

"I think that's one of the areas we need to crack down on," says Turner, "if someone wants to buy ammunition they should be required to produce an identification that they do have a gun and are legally eligible to have a gun."

She's suggesting that all Central Jersey residents take advantage of a $100,000 first-come-first serve gun buy-back program being held in a few days.

Authorities say residents will be able to turn in as many as three firearms with no questions asked - and receive up $250 per weapon.

Police officers will be collecting the guns at the Pentecostal Assembly of God Church, and the Greater Mount Zion AME Church in Trenton, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday.

The program is being paid for with criminal forfeiture funds.

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