NEW BRUNSWICK — Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan today announced that a New Brunswick church will serve as the site where residents can surrender guns and receive cash rewards on April 21 and April 22.
The program will pay $80 for each operable handgun and $150 for each operable assault weapon that is surrendered at Sacred Heart Parish Hall, behind Sacred Heart School at 115 Commercial Avenue in New Brunswick.
The church hall will be open on April 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on April 22, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Those who surrender operable handguns or operable assault rifles will be paid, with no questions asked. Additionally, no one will be arrested for surrendering a gun.
Residents also are invited to stop at the church hall to pick up trigger locks, which will be given for free on both days.
“The goal of this program is to reduce the number of guns in Middlesex County,” Kaplan said. “When you turn in guns, you make our neighborhoods safer, and may save a life.”
“We want to reduce the number of guns that might be used by criminals or cause injury, death or suffering,” the prosecutor said.
“Most guns are owned by law-abiding people, but guns may be stolen in a burglary, found by a child, used unexpectedly during a heated argument, or during a time of great stress,” Kaplan said.
“The freeholders are dedicated to improving the safety of all our residents,” said Freeholder H. James Polos, chairperson of the county’s Office of Public Safety and Health. “This is one more program that helps us reach our goal.”
“I would like to commend Prosecutor Kaplan for making this program available,” Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano said. “It will lessen the opportunity that guns will be used illegally or accidentally.”
While all guns that are surrendered will be accepted at the church hall, cash payments will be made only to those who surrender handguns or assault weapons that are in operable condition.
In order to surrender a gun, it must be unloaded, wrapped, tied or taped, and placed in a box, bag or case.
Those who are uncertain if a weapon in their possession is an assault weapon are urged to go to the New Jersey State Police website, www.NJSP.org, click on Public Information, New Jersey Firearms Laws, NJ Attorney General Guidelines, Assault Firearms.
The program has been sponsored by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office in past years, and has been successful in retrieving guns.
The last gun roundup occurred in 2003. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office paid $84,500 for assault weapons that were surrendered by individuals. Another 100 guns were surrendered, but no cash rewards were offered during the program, which only sought assault rifles for cash.
Funding for the program is provided from assets that were obtained by criminals through illegal activities and forfeited by court order following convictions for drugs sales and other crimes.
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