Gun buyback program a success, Camden official says

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A 2012 gun buy back netted over 1100 guns in Camden, N.J. A few of those guns are shown here. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

A 2012 gun buy back netted over 1100 guns in Camden, N.J. A few of those guns are shown here. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

A New Jersey program to get illegal guns off the streets has yielded a bonanza — especially in Camden. 

Camden County Police collected more than 2,000 guns in conjunction with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the state Attorney General’s Office. The 2,174 firearms collected nearly doubled the total from the county’s 2012 buyback initiative, officials said.

The state paid between $100 and $200 for each of the more than 4,000 weapons collected in Camden, Trenton and Newark.

“In Camden County, over 70 percent of the guns that our police confiscate come from outside New Jersey so there’s too many guns that are stolen, illegally sold to criminals,” said Camden County Freeholder Lou Cappelli. “So it’s just a good idea to take as many guns off the street as possible.”

Every gun taken off the streets is one that won’t fall into criminal hands, he said.

“It also takes guns out of homes that may someday be burglarized and a gun stolen, who knows?” he said. “So, we think it was a very successful program.”

State forfeiture funds were used to pay for the exchanges, and gun owners were compensated a total of $220,000 for their pistols, shotguns, and rifles over the two-day period. The entire endeavor was undertaken with a “no-questions asked” philosophy

Camden officials are planning to talk to the state about more gun buybacks in the future.

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