Another NJ Gun “Buyback” Asks People To Commit Felonies

Another NJ Gun “Buyback” Asks People To Commit Felonies

Freehold, New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- The matter of so-called gun “buybacks” needs to be visited every time some feel-good politician or civic leader thinks it’s a good idea to host one of these events. Aside from the fact that they are not effective, in New Jersey they’re illegal. From a somewhat recent study, we have the following information on gun “buybacks”:

Over the last decade, over 100 U.S. cities have adopted GBPs with the hope of reducing gun crime. Using data from the 1991-2015 National Incident–Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), this study is the first to comprehensively assess the impact of city GBPs on gun crime and firearm-related violence.

Our findings provide no evidence that GBPs are effective at deterring gun crime, firearm related homicides, or firearm-related suicides in the short- or long-run.

Moreover, we find some evidence of a small, short-run increase in gun crime in the two months following a GBP. This result is consistent with the notion that GBPs primarily target low-risk firearms that are more likely to deter crime than be used in the commission of a crime (Kuhn et al. 2002) and with the hypothesis that some criminals may be emboldened by their perception that victims will be less likely to defend themselves with deadly physical force (Lott 1998).

Concerning the legality of “buybacks”, or as Cam Edwards calls them compensated confiscation programs, there are several New Jersey laws people need to be aware of on the possession of firearms:

2C:39-5 Unlawful possession of weapons.:

“Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the third degree

Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-3, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.”

The exemptions to New Jersey firearm law do not allow for transport to any firearm amnesty program and certainly not to or at a church. The only citation in New Jersey law on the amnesty or “turning in” of firearms can be read on the New Jersey State Police website and in NJ’s statute:

I have an old gun and want to get rid of it, what do I do?

You may contact your local police department for destruction. According to N.J.S. 2C:39-12 Voluntary Surrender, you may provide written notice including the proposed date and time of surrender to the superintendent or chief of police of municipality in which you reside prior to transporting same to that department. You may also contact a gun shop to inquire if they would like to purchase the firearm from you. They must provide you with a written receipt if they take the firearm.

Any program that purports to allow people to just show up and engage in a “no questions asked” situation is advertising something that’s not within New Jersey’s law. Written notice? Nah, don’t worry about that. Given all this information, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office was happy to announce an upcoming “buyback”:

Following a successful gun buyback held in Asbury Park last weekend, a second such event will be held next month, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.

The second gun buyback in as many months is scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 20 at the Bethel AME Church on Waterworks Road in Freehold Township.

The event is being sponsored by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Shaun Golden; the Freehold Borough Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Craig W. Dispenza; the Freehold Township Police Department, under the leadership of Chief George K. Baumann; and the Bethel AME Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Ronald L. Sparks.

From an Asbury Park Press article we have the following:

People can anonymously surrender firearms and receive cash in exchange from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bethel AME Church on Waterworks Road in Freehold Township.

“We want people to feel comfortable. No one is going to question you. We just want to get the guns off the streets,” said the Rev. Ronald L. Sparks, pastor of Bethel AME Church, who advocated for having a buyback in the western side of Monmouth County.

I reached out to the leadership at the Bethel AME Church about the legality of the program and this was the the reply I received:

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the gun buy back program. Kindly contact The Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor’s office with your questions. Thank you.

I wanted to make sure they were aware and on notice about hosting the program, as well as thank them with the following reply:

Thank you kindly. I’ll reach out to that office. Please be aware that your church is hosting a program that encourages people to break the firearm possession laws in New Jersey.

Seeing that the church decided to pass the buck, I reached out to the prosecutor’s office with the following query:

Attention Acting Prosecutor Linskey:

I’m writing because I would like to inquire about the upcoming Gun Buyback scheduled for this weekend at the Bethel AME Church. I asked the same questions of the church leadership and they told me to direct my queries to your office.

I’m a freelance journalist who’s work primarily appears on “Bearing Arms” and “Ammoland Shooting Sports News”. I had a few questions about the buyback that I’m hoping you could address for use in an article.

1. New Jersey’s firearm possession laws are very strict, as you know. Under 2C:39-5 Unlawful possession of weapons., we have the following laws:

“Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the third degree

Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-3, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.”

Under the buyback program, what assurances do people have that they will not be arrested and prosecuted while transporting firearms to the church? By asking people to bring firearms to that location you’re telling people to break NJ law and commit a felony. As you’re aware the penalties are 3 – 5 minimum mandatory under the Graves act. Can you please show me in law where transportation would be allowed?

2. Again on possession, the church does not fall into the exemption of the law of where people may possess firearms. Where in NJ statute is it stated that people may take firearms to a church, the location noted? I would like to see the exemptions in the law that will protect citizens from arrest and prosecution.

3. Who is taking possession of the firearms? Under New Jersey law, an FFL is supposed to be transferring all firearms. Can you please direct me to the statute in NJ’s law that allows for such programs to be legal?

Thank you kindly in advance for your reply. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest Regards,
John Petrolino

At this time, I have received no response from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office. Should I receive a reply, I will have an author’s note added at the end of this article as well as request it be redistributed to our readership.

This request of the Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor is nearly identical to the one I made back in October of Acting Attorney General Bruck. Bruck’s office advertised a statewide “buyback” in several counties. My original correspondence was acknowledged, however, my questions were never answered. Nor were subsequent follow-up requests answered. No one I have reached out to that have been involved with these programs are willing to answer the questions I posed to the Acting Prosecutor in Monmouth County. The full exchange with Bruck’s office and other officials can be read HERE.

A former police officer recently challenged me on bringing up the fact that these programs encourage illegal behavior and are themselves not legal according to New Jersey law. His sentiments were akin to “What’s the big deal if they get guns off the street?” This establishment hack does not understand or maybe does not care, that New Jersey’s laws are so strict that often people with no criminal intent get ensnared in costly legal battles. Further, looking at the pictures of what firearms are “taken off the street” we’re often shown old, beat up, wooden stocked rifles and shotguns. Piles of rust and garbage. But to that individual, who probably believes no one should be armed besides the police, these programs are “good” and “effective”. I suppose as long as no one touches his pension he does not care what happens with the rest of the peasants in New Jersey. Of course, he can carry, so why should he care? A former police officer or regular peasant like myself, the view is obtuse. I do know plenty of LEOs that get it, but that fella clearly does not and probably just stowed his “Murphy For Governor” yard sign in his garage.

The disgusting thing here is the political machine in New Jersey is okay with when people break the law to “get rid” of guns. I certainly don’t envy the person that gets stopped on their way to one of these evidence destruction events and ends up in a custodial arraignment. There are NO exemptions in New Jersey law that allow these to occur and the attitudes of our “leadership” on the subject in not addressing this is beyond hubris. New Jersey wants to pay you to break their own laws…cash me outside, how bout that?


About John Petrolino

John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .

John Petrolino
John Petrolino

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *