A recent drug sweep in Monmouth County took numerous guns off the streets of Asbury Park, but the fight continues to remove illegal weapons from criminals.

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Though New Jersey has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said with the demand for weapons so high, confiscated handguns are quickly replaced.

"You can easily drive from state- to-state and as long as there is a market here to purchase illegal firearms, then people from Virginia, Tennessee, or wherever will come here because there is a chance to make some money."

Gramiccioni's Law Enforcement Task Force works with local, state and federal partners to share information related to drug, gang and weapon activity.  He said while any information they receive about shipments from out-of-state gets shared with officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it's difficult to find the weapons once they get to New Jersey.

"It's very difficult to trace these things, especially when the serial number gets scratched off and these transactions aren't done in daylight."

From a local level, Gramiccioni said the most important thing they can do is fight to stem the demand for weapons through education and law enforcement.  Similar to the recent heroin epidemic in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, the illicit items, whether guns or drugs, come to the state because dealers know there is a demand.

"Often you will find that when people break into homes - typically the three things they're looking for is prescription pills, cash, jewelry and firearms because firearms are able to be quickly sold," Gramiccioni sad.






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