MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced today that $22,010 was paid to people who participated in a weekend gun surrender program in which 264 handguns and 11 assault weapons were among 311 guns surrendered to police.
The gun surrender program is part of an on-going effort by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and municipal police departments in the county to reduce the number of weapons that are no longer wanted by their owners.
“Since these weapons can potentially fall into the wrong hands and be used for illegal purposes, it is imperative that law enforcement offer a means of safely disposing of unwanted weapons,” Kaplan said.
“The exchange of operable handguns and assault rifles for cash is a fair incentive to help keep our streets safe.” Kaplan said.
He said some people were not seeking cash payments and delivered 36 weapons, such as shotguns and rifles that were not among the weapons that qualified for payments.
Additionally, a few residents declined payments for two operable handguns and four operable assault rifles that were surrendered, Kaplan said.
An Uzi sub-machine gun was among weapons that were surrendered.
All weapons will be properly destroyed by police.
The weapons were dropped off by residents on April 21 and April 22 at Sacred Heart Parish Hall on Commercial Avenue in New Brunswick.
The program paid $80 for each operable handgun and $150 for each operable assault weapon that was surrendered.
In years past, police have accepted unusual weapons and antique weapons that were surrendered. In a 2002 gun collection sponsored by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, about 20 antique weapons were handed over to police. Those weapons subsequently were donated to The West Point Museum at the United State Military Academy.
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 for weapons other than assault rifles.
Funding for the program is provided from assets that were obtained by criminals through illegal activities and forfeited by court order following convictions for drug sales and other crimes.