Steve Janoski | NorthJersey.com
Residents can trade their guns for cash at one of 10 sites throughout New Jersey this Saturday during the largest single-day gun buyback ever held in the state.
The event, details of which were announced Monday, will let residents turn firearms in with no questions asked, according to a statement from acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck. They will receive as much as $250 per weapon for up to three guns.
State officials say the buybacks will help cut gun violence by pulling firearms off the streets.
“Fewer firearms in the wrong hands will lead to less violence in our neighborhoods,” said Col. Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This program will play a huge role in protecting our cities and saving lives.”
Bruck echoed this, saying he would use “every tool at our disposal to reduce gun violence.”
The popularity of a similar event on Aug. 7 spurred the state’s plans to hold another, the attorney general added.
The summer buyback — held in Atlantic City, East Orange, Newark and Paterson — netted nearly 1,000 guns, including 487 handguns, 27 assault rifles, 281 rifles and 146 that were inoperable or pellet guns, according to state authorities.
But it’s still not clear what effect, if any, buybacks have on lowering crime, experts said.
“I’ve never seen any study or crime statistic that would indicate these buybacks have a direct impact,” said Brian Higgins, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan and a former Bergen County police chief. “This is more of a feel-good approach … it’s not arresting people, putting them in jail and having them answer for a crime committed with a gun.”
But he added that the programs certainly do no harm. And they’re worth it if they save even one life, Higgins said.
Bruck said in the statement that the buyback is part of a comprehensive effort to curtail gun deaths by addressing the root causes of violence, keeping guns away from those likely to harm others and taking swift action against criminals.
The buyback is funded with forfeiture money seized by local police departments, county prosecutors and the state’s Division of Criminal Justice, Bruck said.
Nine county prosecutors’ offices are participating, Bruck said. The event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following sites:
Bergen County: St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church, 55 West Demarest Avenue, Englewood
Camden County: Antioch Baptist Church, 690 Ferry Avenue, Camden
Cumberland County: Alms Center, 1 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Bridgeton
Mercer County: Friendship Baptist Church, 111 Perry Street, Trenton
Middlesex/Somerset counties: First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, 771 Somerset Street, Somerset
Monmouth County: Second Baptist Church of Asbury Park, 124 Atkins Avenue, Asbury Park (opens at 8:30 a.m.)
Salem County: Carneys Point Fire Department, 258 D Street, Carneys Point
Union County: Master’s Table Christian Fellowship (Triumphant Life Church) 207-211 Bond Street, Elizabeth; Shiloh Baptist Church Community Center, Corner of W 5th Street and Liberty Street, Plainfield; Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, 506 Westfield Avenue, Westfield