New Jersey AG: Gun buy backs will help to slow violent crime

The State Attorney General for New Jersey has been pumping up state-sponsored gun buy back programs scheduled for this weekend, arguing the events will help in the fight against violent crime.

In an opinion piece published Thursday in the Star-Ledger, New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino admits that gun buy backs are not a complete solution but argues the events can do a lot to help law enforcement get crime guns off the streets.

“Some doubters question the overall efficacy of buybacks, while others suggest that buybacks tend to bring in mostly old ‘attic’ guns,” Porrino said. “But once a gun has been turned in and melted down — as every firearm obtained through these buybacks will be — it can never be stashed in a vacant building or used as a community gun to commit crime after crime. It can never be stolen in a burglary and used later in a violent crime. And it can never fall into the hands of a curious child.”

The gun buy backs will act as just one part of a proposed two part solution, Porrino argues, as prosecutors will now have more tools at their disposal when dealing with offenders who use guns to commit violent crimes. Most notably, due to New Jersey’s new bail reform rules, prosecutors can now seek “no bail” for said offenders.

Aside from the obvious stash of guns accrued during gun buy backs, Porrino says the events also help to bring communities together and create public awareness.

“Many people in the community are energized by their participation,” Porrino says. “They feel that, by turning in a gun, serving as an on-site volunteer at one of the churches, simply spreading the word, or supporting the effort in some other way, they are making a contribution.”

The statewide buy backs are scheduled in Camden, Trenton, and Newark for Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at a single church in each of the cities. The three churches are: Antioch Baptist Church in Camden, Friendship Baptist Church in Trenton and Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church in Newark.

People can anonymously turn in up to three firearms with “no questions asked” and can expect to receive $100 for a rifle or shotgun, $120 for a handgun or revolver, and $200 for an assault weapon. All guns must be unloaded, and no ammunition will be accepted at the events. All turned-in firearms will be melted down and destroyed.