Nearly 1,600 Weapons Swapped for Cash in Shore Buy Back
Shore streets are safer by 1,581 weapons. That's how many were turned in during the two-day gun buy-back initiative in Asbury Park and Keansburg, spearheaded by New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa.
Figures released by Chiesa today in Freehold include 15 assault rifles, 761 handguns, 409 rifles and 356 shotguns. All but 40 were operable. It brings the total so far to 7,092 firearms in Monmouth, Mercer, Camden and Essex Counties.
Chiesa said that the initiative used up $209,175 in state and county criminal forfeiture funds.
Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Chris Grammiccioni remarked that he was "blown away" by the final tabulations, and credited Chiesa's determination.
"They inherently bring a level of publicity that we wouldn't otherwise experience, in addition to the financial support to buy this many guns."
Weapons fetched up to $250 each, depending on type and condition. The program is anonymous and no questions are asked.
A reduction in weapons on the streets goes a long way, says Chris Grammiccioni, but anyone seeking to minimize the threat of gun violence has an obligation to take a degree of involvement.
Grammiccioni says that tips sent anonymously to his office have amped up investigators' ability to refine their probes and increase the likelihood of arrests and convictions. He's encouraging people to overcome fears of retribution.
"People automatically think that when they communicate information, they're going to end up in a courtroom, pointing somebody out as the person who committed some kind of crime," he says. "That's not the case. Even anonymous information helps us direct our investigations."
The next is planned for later this month in Atlantic County.