A combined total of nearly 600 firearms have been collected for destruction as the result of two gun buyback events hosted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and partner agencies over the last month, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced on Nov. 23.
Monmouth County was one of nine counties statewide to host a gun buyback event on Oct. 23; as a result, a total of 360 firearms were collected at the Second Baptist Church of Asbury Park, including 159 handguns, 133 rifles and shotguns, and three assault weapons, according to a press release from the prosecutor’s office.
A second gun buyback event was held on Nov. 20 at the Bethel AME Church in Freehold Township; as a result, a total of 234 more firearms, including 144 handguns, 67 rifles and shotguns, and two assault weapons were collected, according to the press release.
Between the two events, more than $66,000 was paid out to participating citizens who turned in 594 unwanted weapons.
“It is abundantly clear these gun buyback events are both popular and effective, and we plan to continue hosting them in the years to come,” Linskey said. “Every last firearm turned in is a firearm that will never be used to harm someone.”
The Nov. 20 gun buyback event in Freehold Township was co-sponsored by the Monmouth County 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 Asbury Park event was co-sponsored by Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office; 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.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General coordinated the Oct. 23 gun buyback events which made history. Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced several days later that nearly 3,000 firearms were turned in at sites across the state that day, making it the most successful single-day event of its kind in state history, according to the press release.
The recent gun buyback events in Asbury Park and Freehold Township marked Monmouth County’s first such events since 2017, according to the press release.