Trenton gun buyback nets more than 1,000 weapons

New Jersey news from Eyewitness News

January 27, 2013 6:52:18 AM PST
More than 1,000 weapons including sawed-off shotguns were collected during a two-day gun buyback program in New Jersey's capital city, so many more than expected that authorities ran out of money and had to start giving out vouchers.

People turning in weapons were allowed to drop off them off at two city churches with no questions asked until the event concluded Saturday night, authorities said. Police officers were on hand at each location to make sure no one entered with a loaded weapon and to collect and secure the firearms.

About 1,300 firearms were collected Friday, authorities said. Participants received $25 to $250 depending on the type of firearm, its legality and its condition. The final tally of weapons received during the program and the total amount of money paid out will be released Tuesday, officials said Saturday.

Gun buyback programs are part of law enforcement's multipronged anti-violence strategy for dealing with crime in New Jersey's major cities. All the weapons will eventually be destroyed.

The $100,000 program was carried out by the attorney general, Mercer County prosecutors, Trenton police, the Mercer County sheriff and faith-based groups. Authorities used forfeiture funds from the Division of Criminal Justice to pay for the weapons collected, so there was no cost to taxpayers.

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack lauded the program in a statement Saturday, saying the city was grateful for the "continued support" from law enforcement.

"We continue to encourage residents to remain vigilant in their homes and neighborhoods and support crime-fighting initiatives," Mack said.

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