The topic of gun “buybacks”, or the more appropriately term “compensated confiscations” coined by Cam, really does not get old. To be perfectly honest, I was going to pass on this one because I previously covered the announcement of the program over at AmmoLand News, but this was just too juicy to pass up. On Saturday August 7, 2021 a series of five compensated confiscation events occurred across New Jersey. The newly appointed acting Attorney General paired up with different cities and organizations to make this a reality.
Hundreds of guns were turned in at two churches in Paterson that were part of a gun buyback program on Saturday.
Officials said 281 weapons were turned in at the Gilmore Memorial Tabernacle Church in the 1st Ward and the St Luke Baptist Church in the 4th Ward. Both the 1st and the 4th wards are known for gun violence.
“Any one of these guns could prevent the next shooting,” said Passaic County prosecutor Camelia Valdes. “We’re not unrealistic in our thinking. There are a lot more guns out there.”
Before removing my tongue from my cheek, Valdes is correct, any one of those guns could prevent the next shooting, that is if it were in the hands of a law abiding citizen. The problem with programs like this in New Jersey is they are illegal.
Yep, that’s correct. It’s against the law to hold these types of gun turn-in events. We won’t dive too far into where the events were hosted, except to note that a couple of churches were involved in the deal. People could bring their guns to these “safe locations” for a no questions asked turn in, offering up to $250 per firearm. What does New Jersey law have to say about this?
2C:39-5 Unlawful possession of weapons.:
“Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the third degree
Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-3, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.”
Okay, so if you don’t have those documents you’re afoul of the law. Everyone should be well aware the peasants in New Jersey are not allowed to get permits to carry. If you’re someone that’s looking to turn in a firearm, the likelihood of having an firearms purchaser identification card is also low. Unless you’re one of the smart gun owners that’s looking to turn in junk for money to buy more ammunition or a higher quality firearm. There are some exemptions to where you can and cannot have your firearm.
Nothing in subsections b., c. and d. of N.J.S.2C:39-5 shall be construed to prevent a person keeping or carrying about his place of business, residence, premises or other land owned or possessed by him, any firearm, or from carrying the same, in the manner specified in subsection g. of this section, from any place of purchase to his residence or place of business, between his dwelling and his place of business, between one place of business or residence and another when moving, or between his dwelling or place of business and place where such firearms are repaired, for the purpose of repair. For the purposes of this section, a place of business shall be deemed to be a fixed location.
All weapons being transported under paragraph (2) of subsection b., subsection e., or paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection f. of this section shall be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
Where is the provision in the law that allows people to take firearms to churches? That’s simple to answer, there is none. The further illegal elements of these events can be explored until the sun comes up, such as the unlawful transfer without an FFL. This is what the Attorney General advocated for, people to break these laws. What are the penalties in New Jersey for breaking such laws? Three to five years, minimum mandatory. A felony. None of this stopped the talking heads from celebrating the events.
Valdes said the gun buyback gave people a chance to turn in guns that they had in their houses.
“We’re really aggressive in getting guns off our streets. We seize them or we buy them back,” said mayor Andre Sayegh, standing in front of the Gilmore Memorial Tabernacle Church.
Police in Paterson seized 125 guns in 2021 so far. They seized 200 in 2020, said the mayor.
“It’s hard to trace where these guns are coming from,” said Sayegh. He said sometimes homes elsewhere are burglarized and the guns end up in the streets of Paterson.
Each weapon fetched as much as $250. The prosecutor said forfeiture funds were used to buy back the weapons.
Police showed two highly lethal weapons that were bought back as part of the program. One was a so-called ghost gun, an AR-15 assault rifle which did not have a serial number, that has the capacity to rapidly fire shots and do extensive damage. And another was a 12-gauge shotgun, that, when fired, releases many pellets, to do serious damage.
I have to tip my hat to the Paterson Times Staff, the “author” of this article. Was this just a press release from pinko NJ’s Attorney General? Or was no single writer wanting to put their name to it? Regardless, this very special statement is what moved me to revisit this epic event. An event that brought in “a so-called ghost gun, an AR-15 assault rifle which did not have a serial number, that has the capacity to rapidly fire shots and do extensive damage. And another was a 12-gauge shotgun, that, when fired, releases many pellets, to do serious damage.” The absurdity of talking about the 12-gauge shotgun, when firing, releases a barrage of miniature bullets, all with the lethality of many magnum-magazine-clip-shoulder-thingys. Um, yeah. A shotgun. To be fair, as pictured in their piece (and do visit it) the shotgun was outfitted with a pistol grip, so I can understand how this would be oh so menacing to a staffer that was forced to look at such a grizzly picture. “Two highly lethal weapons…”
“Every gun that we get off the street is a success. Every single one of these guns could be used to kill someone, and the fewer guns that we have on the streets, the safer our communities are,” said acting New Jersey attorney general Andrew Bruck.
Some wondered whether the right guns were bought to dent gun violence in Paterson. Many of the weapons bought back were legal guns, said Sylvia Farrar, vice president of community relations at the Ceasefire Community group. Often people turn in their old rifles for money, she said.
“We want the illegal guns, the ones that are killing people. The ones that have bodies on them. We want those guns,” said Farrar. “It’s still a decent effort, but we’re not reaching our target audience.”
The target audience are the people with guns in the crime-ridden neighborhoods of Paterson.
There is not much defense to that. Another trashcan filled with wooden stocked long guns is nothing to be proud of. “Legal guns” as Farrar called them.
I can’t speak for my colleagues here or the entire Second Amendment community, however I will stretch out my neck a little to say most of us are very leery and skeptical of the efficacy of these “buyback” programs. Just yesterday Tom reported on “buybacks”:
Gun buybacks aren’t so much controversial as they are idiotic. The idea that a criminal will get rid of a perfectly good gun just because they can get a few bucks seems to be counterintuitive. It’s as if people think criminals are just stupid and will take the short-term gain when they can probably get more by actually using the gun to hold up a liquor store or something.
I think his message is crystal clear on where he stands on the subject. Cam covered a Philadelphia, PA event last month:
The simple truth is that gun buybacks don’t work. There’s no evidence that they reduce violent crime, suicides, or accidents involving firearms. The only folks who benefit are politicians like Darrell Clarke, who can reap some positive press from these events. Frankly, the good people in Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods deserve better than this empty rhetoric, but as long as they keep voting for the status quo, this is probably the best that they can expect; more shootings, more deaths, more violence… and more useless gun “buybacks” as well.
This is what we’re dealing with. Ineffectual “feel-good” events. That’s all. To top it off, New Jersey asks the public at large to unknowingly break the law to help accomplish these PR events. A recent internet troll tried saying “what’s the difference if it gets guns off the street?” For starters, the felony charges. That, as well as looking at the firearms, I don’t see many of them “on the streets.” And further, something that I keep getting drawn to, and this deserves repeating, are a couple of quips from a new study on these compensated confiscation programs:
Over the last decade, over 100 U.S. cities have adopted GBPs with the hope of reducing gun crime. Using data from the 1991-2015 National Incident–Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), this study is the first to comprehensively assess the impact of city GBPs on gun crime and firearm-related violence.
Our findings provide no evidence that GBPs are effective at deterring gun crime, firearm related homicides, or firearm-related suicides in the short- or long-run.
Moreover, we find some evidence of a small, short-run increase in gun crime in the two months following a GBP. This result is consistent with the notion that GBPs primarily target low-risk firearms that are more likely to deter crime than be used in the commission of a crime (Kuhn et al. 2002) and with the hypothesis that some criminals may be emboldened by their perception that victims will be less likely to defend themselves with deadly physical force (Lott 1998).
There you have it, they simply don’t work. At this time, I’d like to congratulate acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck, who just took office July 19th. Bravo for your first successful set of compensated confiscation programs! How do you feel knowing you asked people to break the law over something that has proven to be ineffectual?