The newly formed P.A.C.T. (Police and Clergy Together) Gun Buyback Program is scheduled to take place this Saturday and the following Saturday, with seven city churches agreeing to open their doors and act as collection sites. Up to $200 cash will be offered for any type of firearm — anything from handguns to shotguns to assault rifles, officials said — and all collected weapons subsequently will be destroyed. Reimbursement will depend on what type of weapon is turned in, condition of firearms and other factors, according to officials coordinating the program.
Attorney Nappen knows of no New Jersey gun law statute allowing 1) the anonymous surrender of firearms; 2) the receipt of surrendered firearms by churches; 3) the unlicensed transport of guns to churches; and 4) the destruction without investigation of guns (which may be potential criminal evidence or stolen property that should be returned to their rightful owners.
The program buys guns off the street, no questions asked, and destroys them without checking the serial numbers. Taxpayer dollars are often the sole source of funding for these operations (the article does not state whether the church contributed funding for the program). Gun buyback programs are controversial for many reasons. Funding these operations using taxpayer dollars is unnecessary. For example, public auctions could be held, allowing revenue for local agencies; payment for the guns could come from individuals that desire to own them. Furthermore, a “no questions asked policy” encourages criminals to turn in guns used in the course of crimes, including guns that were stolen in the first place. Destroying the guns without running the numbers ensures the rightful owners never get their stolen firearms back, and guns used in crime are never recovered.
It goes without saying that a successful NJ lawyer would not offer $5,000 for proof of something unless he knew the proof did not exist. He reinforces his case by pointing out the issues regarding firearms transfer, purchase, and (lack of) licensing of a church.
Great quote from Shotgun News:
Hollywood celebrities call for disarming the masses while they are protected by their armed bodyguards and their special dispensation carry permits. Legislators pass special exemptions and amnesty periods when they find one of their own snared in stupid gun laws. And well-meaning, peace-marching church folk call for stricter gun laws, but then expect to be able to openly defy those laws in the name of “getting guns off the street.” It’s hypocritical, it’s wrong, and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.