Getting The Cold Shoulder On NJ's Gun "Buybacks".

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Governor Phil Murphy and, by extension his acting Attorney General Bruck, have made it their modus operandi to stigmatize and abolish anything Second Amendment related. A number of different efforts have been chronicled here in the pages of Bearing Arms, as well as in other solid Second Amendment related publications, about different initiatives and programs being launched. Everything the anti-freedom caucus has brought to the table has amounted to feel-good do-nothing measures which are only good for sound bite politics. That’s no different than the number of so-called gun “buyback” programs, more appropriately named compensated confiscation programs by Cam, which have a net zero effect on the public safety and welfare of our citizenry. My colleague and friend Tom recently reported about such an event earlier in the month for one county. That event was actually part of a larger one as illustrated by one of Bruck’s recent Tweets:

Truth be told, I’ve been following this new round of compensated confiscation programs for about a month now. Take for example this one social media post from October 1st from County of Union, New Jersey – Posts | Facebook:

Union County residents with unwanted guns in their possession can earn up to $250 per weapon by participating in the upcoming Union County Gun Amnesty Buyback program, scheduled for Saturday, October 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Three convenient locations will be available for those turning in guns.
No questions will be asked, and guns in any condition will be accepted. All persons turning in a gun may do so anonymously.
“We will take any gun, regardless of how it came into your possession. Amnesty buyback programs are needed now more than ever, as communities in New Jersey and across the country face a new wave of deadly gun violence,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We hope this event raises awareness about the importance of getting unwanted guns off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”
“Gun buyback programs are an important opportunity for the community and law enforcement to collaborate on an initiative to reduce violent crime,” said Union County Prosecutor William Daniel. “We encourage Union County residents to participate in the gun amnesty program on October 23rd and decrease the number of unwanted firearms in their communities.”
The buyback locations for the October 23 event are:
Elizabeth: Master’s Table Christian Fellowship, 207-211 Bond Street
Plainfield: Shiloh Baptist Church, 515-521 West Fourth Street
Westfield: Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, 506 Westfield Avenue
As a reminder, each location will be available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on October 23, on a walk-in basis. No appointment or pre-registration is needed, and no questions will be asked.
Participants in the Union County Amnesty Gun Buyback program may bring up to three weapons for reimbursement.
Those arriving on foot should convey their weapon in a sturdy, closed container. Persons arriving by car must keep the container in their trunk while in transit.
To reduce the risk of theft or mishap, participants are also advised to proceed directly to the drop-off location, without making any stops for errands or social calls.
COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed at these events. Please be prepared to wear a mask indoors.
The Union County Gun Amnesty Buyback program is supported by the Union County Board of County Commissioners and sponsored by the Union County Prosecutor and the Union County Sheriff with the Union County Division of Police and the police departments of the cities of Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Westfield.
For questions about the buyback event, call the Union County Department of Public Safety at 908-654-9816.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General will be conducting its Gun Buy Back program for Bergen County on Saturday, October 23, 2021 from 10 am to 4 pm. Please see the above flyer for additional details. #gunbuyback #lyndhurstnj #lyndhurstpolice #communitypolicing #communityputreach
These so-called buybacks really do irk me in a way that most Americans in the free parts of the Union won’t understand. The possession laws in New Jersey are so strict that when these governmental officials are asking for people to turn in their arms, they’re asking them to break the law in many different ways. I finally was fed up and wrote the following to Acting Attorney General Bruck’s office:

Attention Attorney General Bruck:

I’m writing because I would like to inquire about the upcoming “Gun Buybacks” scheduled for Saturday October 23rd. I’m a freelance journalist who’s work primarily appears on bearingarms.com and ammoland.com. I had a few questions about the buyback that I’m hoping you could address for use in an article.

1. New Jersey’s firearm possession laws are very strict, as you know. Under 2C:39-5 Unlawful possession of weapons., we have the following laws:

“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.”

Under the buyback program, what assurances do people have that they will not be arrested and prosecuted while transporting firearms to these locations? By asking people to bring firearms to the “safe locations” you’re telling people to break NJ law and commit a felony. As you’re aware the penalties are 3 – 5 minimum mandatory under the Graves Act. Can you please show me in law where transportation would be allowed?

2. Again on possession, none of the “safe locations” outlined fall into the exemption of the law of where people may possess firearms. Where in NJ statute is it stated that people may take firearms to say a church, one of the locations noted? I would like to see the exemptions in the law that will protect citizens from arrest and prosecution.

3. Who is taking possession of the firearms? Under New Jersey law, an FFL is supposed to be transferring all firearms. Can you please direct me to the statute in NJ’s law that allows for such programs to be legal?

Thank you kindly in advance for your reply. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest Regards,
John Petrolino

That email was sent on October 8th. Much to my surprise, I did get three replies! They are as follows:

[Reply 1 October 8, 2021]

Hello,

If you are a reporter, what outlet are you from. If not, we handle only reporters from the media in this department. If you have any questions, concerns, comments or complaints – please call Constituent Services at 609-984-5828 or email them at [email protected]

Please remove OAGpress from future emails.

Thank you,
Office of the Attorney General
Dept. of Communications

[Reply 2 October 8, 2021]

Sorry, just saw that you are a journalist.

I will forward your email for a response.

Thank you,
Bernice Lagana
Office of the Attorney General
Dept. of Communications

[Reply 3 October 8, 2021]

Good morning,

Your inquiry was forwarded to me and I am working to get you a response. Can you give me a little bit more background on your article, is it focusing on New Jersey’s gun buyback events? Are you working under a specific deadline?

Thank you,
K.C. Lopez

I did reply to the first email, however my reply passed their reply within moments. My response to their third email, also October 8th, to clarify what seemed like a pretty cut and dry series of questions:

K.C.,

Thank you for getting back to me. My specific focus is on New Jersey’s gun buyback events. My deadline would be to have something go to print prior to the event date if possible. Thank you kindly.

Warmest Regards,
John Petrolino

I received no reply. Considering that, I wrote a follow-up email on October 19th:

KC,

With the “buyback” date rapidly approaching, the courtesy of a reply form the AG’s office would greatly be appreciated. Since we’re talking about felony level offenses I feel it’s the governing body’s responsibility to offer guidance on this. As noted, I would like to run something prior to the several buyback events which are scheduled this weekend.

Warmest Regards,
John Petrolino

Well, I got my answer. No answer. They did not reply and the the date of the so-called gun “buybacks” has come. It’s important to note, I did also send the exact same correspondence to the Attorney General’s constituent’s correspondence portal and received the same reply. None.

While reaching out to the AG’s office, I direct messaged the Lyndhurst police department’s social media page the same questions. They did both receive and read my message. No reply.

Going back to the very first social media post I referenced, that of Union County, I decided to try to make contact with someone quoted within the release. Union County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella, to save you on having to scroll back up, said the following about the program:

“We will take any gun, regardless of how it came into your possession. Amnesty buyback programs are needed now more than ever, as communities in New Jersey and across the country face a new wave of deadly gun violence,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “We hope this event raises awareness about the importance of getting unwanted guns off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”

I reached out to Mirabella, also on October 8th, through social media direct message and email. The email address I used, I guessed at (and was correct), because it’s not publicly available (which is should be). The content of both the email and direct message included the exact same questions I asked the AG and Lyndhurst Police department. Mirabella got back to me via social media first:

Mr Petrolino – I’m happy to respond, however, you will need to address this in an e-mail and rend it to my Union County address: [redacted]. Thanks-Al

And then his email reply on October 11th:

Mr Petrolino-

Thank you for you questions. I have forwarded them to public information. They will get back to you.
Have a nice day. Al

I did reply to that email thanking Mirabella for considering my queries. After not hearing back from him nor “public information”, I did send another followup message on October 19th:

Commissioner,

With the “buyback” date rapidly approaching, the courtesy of a reply form “public information” would greatly be appreciated. Since we’re talking about felony level offenses I feel it’s the governing body’s responsibility to offer guidance on this.

Warmest Regards,
John Petrolino

And here we are. No reply.

I don’t know what’s more troubling, the fact that the State of New Jersey continues to host these events which are asking people to break the law, or the fact that I can’t even get a political sound bite quip out of them about anything on the subject. The political elite in New Jersey need to be taken to task. This is a perfect example of their blatant disregard for not only constituents but also those who wish to accurately report the news on what they’re doing.

Right now it’s the morning of the 23rd, a Saturday morning. It’s doubtful that anyone that I’ve reached out to will be replying to my questions on a last minute basis. I don’t know what else to say to the readership or leadership for that matter, other than that I’m disgusted.

This is Phil Murphy’s New Jersey. A New Jersey that does what it wants, breaks its own laws, and does not even have the courtesy to give at minimum a BS feel-good do-nothing quote, not even one not addressing the questions. They lost their opportunity to feed the public some more garbage rhetoric, and I’m here to tell you about it.

This is life in an anti-freedom Utopia. Everyone, open your eyes. To those freedom lovers in New Jersey, and in the rest of the country, I won’t stop working to point out the corruption and lawlessness of these anti-American jurisdictions.