Morris County Gun Buy Back Program Collected 674 Firearms
Published on May 17, 2022
The Morris County Gun Buy Back program, held over the past weekend, resulted in the collection of 674 unwanted firearms, most of which were fully operable.
All of firearms, aside from BB-guns, were purchased through the two-day exchange using funds submitted by Morris County Crimestoppers, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the Morris County Board of County Commissioners (American Rescue Plan Act Funds) and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Forfeiture Funds (County Law Enforcement Trust Account). A total of $104,675 was paid out to New Jersey residents who surrendered the guns.
SEE THE FACT SHEET ON THE TYPES OF CONFISCATED FIREARMS
Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Chief of Detectives Christoph K. Kimker, Mount Olive Police Chief Stephen Beecher, Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Chief Richard Pantina, the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, John Sette of Morris County CrimeStoppers and Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin made the announcement. All were represented at a press conference today at Morris County’s Central Park in Parsippany.
The Morris County Gun Buy Back program was held on Saturday, May 14, at Budd Lake Fire Department on Route 46, Budd Lake, N.J. and Sunday, May 15, at the Parsippany Police Athletic League (PAL) Building in Parsippany, N.J. New Jersey residents were invited to turn in firearms with “no questions asked,” with payouts made on a first come, first serve basis.
Several semi-automatic rifles, classified as assault weapons under New Jersey law, were surrendered as well as hundreds of fully operable rifles, shotguns and handguns. The last time a Gun Buy Back program was held in Morris County was in 2013, where 600 weapons were surrendered.
People who traded in the firearms told law enforcement officers staffing the events they were grateful for the opportunity to surrender the guns, which they had either inherited or not used in years. They expressed concerns about:
- Young children accessing them
- Having them stolen and possessed by criminals
- Safeguarding loved ones struggling with mental health issues including thoughts of suicide
- Keeping them out of the hands of those seeking to do harm to others
Morris County law enforcement thanks the participants for helping to remove idle firearms from circulation, a big step in helping prevent tragedies and opportunities for violent crime. Below are some of the anecdotes participants shared with program organizers:
- “I have very sick relative in the house and I was so scared they would try to use this gun when no one was around, thank you for easing my mind when I come home each day.”
- “I would just like to turn these in, I do not want any money. Just wanted to make sure these were turned in safely and would not fall into the wrong hands.”
- “These guns were in my basement when I moved in, I have no idea whose they were and was always afraid someone would steal them.”
- “After seeing the news from New York State last night, I decided to bring my families old guns in today in hopes of preventing anymore tragedies.”
Among the surrendered items were a two “ghost gun” assembly kits, including an assembly “jig” that assists gun hobbyists in building specific types of firearms at home by serving as a template. The devices include special plates that indicate where to drill holes for bolts and cut surplus metal.
Such “homemade” firearms are posing challenges to law enforcement, who note that the firearms are untraceable.
“Public safety and the security of our residents is of the utmost importance to me and the officers of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office. The collaborative efforts of this program have increased the level of both by providing an avenue of disposal for unwanted firearms,” said Sheriff Gannon. “Prosecutor Carroll and I noticed that most of the folks turning in weapons were doing so because they obtained them and were not personally comfortable owning or handling them themselves. From a community care perspective, it’s wise and necessary to safeguard firearms that you have come to possess until you gain that handling expertise. If you don’t intend to keep the guns, then the buy-back offers one way to assure that responsible care.”
“On behalf of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, we commend the Prosecutor’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office for launching this program and preventing several hundred unwanted, yet functioning firearms from potentially landing on our streets. The two-day program was a complete success, and the board is proud to have played a part in this important public safety effort,” said Director of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners Tayfun Selen.
“We are extremely pleased with the results of this program and thank our funding partners for their support. Nationally and regionally, we are seeing a significant rise in gun-related violence, most recently the tragic attack in Buffalo N.Y. Equally of concern is the uptick in suicides and domestic violence incidents that involve weapons. Any program that can remove unwanted firearms from such situations removes a violent and often emotional alternative and can preserve, rather than endanger, citizen lives. I commend the dedicated members of the MCPO, the MCSO and our County Police Chiefs and their police departments for their cooperative efforts in planning and executing this successful program. The Sheriff and I assure our residents that we will continue our aggressive efforts to protect our citizens from gun violence. I especially commend Sgt. Keisha Higgs for coordinating this multi-faceted program.”
Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at [email protected] or 973-829-8159.