The New Jersey Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday that a record 1,137 firearms had been turned in as part of cash-for-guns program in just two days after last week’s shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
At least five semi-automatic assault rifles were among the weapons collected at the “Guns for Cash” event held at two churches in Camden, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa’s office said in a statement.
“I am not suggesting that gun buybacks are some sort of magic solution to the complex and multi-faceted problem of violence in our society,” Chiesa explained. “But we have to keep forging ahead using all of the strategies at our disposal. And while we’re at it, we have to keep thinking about new strategies as well. Here in New Jersey, inaction is not an option.”
“We’ve taken more than a thousand firearms out of circulation here in Camden and throughout Camden County. The results of our buyback are collected here before you, and I’d submit that it was well worth the effort.”
Gun owners could turn in up to three guns and receive up to $250 for each. Of the $156,000 spent during the buy-back event, $110,000 came from criminal forfeitures. Funds left over from previous cash-for-guns events and future forfeitures were expected to cover the rest.
“We aren’t going to simply throw up our hands and say the gun violence problem is too big,” Chiesa insisted. “We’re going to act. We’re going to innovate. And, working together, we’re going to continue to do everything in our power to make communities safer by getting guns off the streets.”
Only 57 guns were collected at a similar event in Camden last year, according to The Philadelphia Enquirer.
Watch this video from WPVI, broadcast Dec. 15, 2012.