MONMOUTH COUNTY – Nearly 600 firearms were exchanged for cash at two Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office gun buyback events.
The program allows anyone to anonymously surrender a weapon without fear of having to answer questions about their identity or how they came into possession of it. When someone surrenders a weapon, the gun is checked against a national database to determine if it is stolen. If the weapon is not stolen then it is slated for destruction.
The gun buybacks were held in Asbury Park on October 23 and in Freehold Township on November 20.
The Asbury Park event collected a total of 360 firearms, which included 159 handguns, 133 rifles and shotguns, and three assault weapons.
At the Freehold event, held at the Bethel AME Church, a total of 234 more firearms, including 144 handguns, 67 rifles and shotguns, and two assault weapons were collected.
Between the two events, more than $66,000 was paid out to participating citizens turning in 594 unwanted weapons.
“It’s abundantly clear that these gun buyback events are both popular and effective, and we plan to continue hosting them in the years to come,” Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said. “Every last firearm turned in is a firearm that will never be used to harm someone.”
“We couldn’t be prouder of our results in Monmouth County, where more firearms were collected at a single site during a gun buyback event than at any point in more than eight years,” Acting Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael Wojciechowski said. “Those results illustrated obvious and robust interest in the availability of such programs, and we are pleased to offer yet another chance, on the other side of the county, for individuals to safely and anonymously rid themselves of unwanted firearms in exchange for cash.”
The Asbury Park event was co-sponsored by MCPO, the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Monmouth County Police Chiefs Association, and the Asbury Park Police Department.
Freehold’s event was co-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.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General coordinated the Oct. 23 gun buybacks, which made history – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced several days later that nearly 3,000 firearms were turned at sites across the state that day, making it the most successful single-day event of its kind in state history. Thousands more firearms were turned in during gun buybacks held across the state in previous years.
The gun buybacks in Asbury Park and Freehold marked Monmouth County’s first such events since 2017.
For more information about gun buyback, visit mcponj.org.
-Alyssa Riccardi contributed to this story