The latest gun-buyback program in New Jersey has yielded a collection of more than 250 firearms. Two assault weapons were among the guns turned into police departments in Monmouth County in exchange for cash.
While critics say gun-buyback programs don’t reduce the number of weapons available to criminals, Assistant County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni disagrees.
He said unwanted guns that were collected could have ended up being taken from homes by burglars.
“When people break in, they steal things that are easily pawnable. Guns are easily pawnable, easily sold whether it’s through pawn shops or on the street,” said Gramiccioni. “So having them voluntarily surrendered in exchange for cash under this lawful program just removes the guns from the equation.”
Gramiccioni said getting guns out of households also can prevent accidental shootings.
Bryan Morris, a retired deputy police chief in Newark, said keeping the guns out of the reach of criminals makes it worthwhile.
“If you get one gun that might have committed a homicide at sometime in the future then you’ve saved a life and that’s priceless,” said Morris, now a researcher with the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.
The collected weapons will be destroyed by melting them down.