Deeply affected by the massacre at SandyÂ Hook, gun owners in Camden, New Jersey, America’s deadliest town, turned in aÂ record number of weapons in a buy back scheme over the weekend.
1,137 firearms including an elephant-gun wereÂ handed in on Friday and Saturday at two churches in the crime-plagued town asÂ the ramifications of the mass child killings in Connecticut seemed to inspireÂ residents to give up their arms.
‘We heard that there were a number ofÂ gunÂ owners on Saturday who had publicly said, in light of the situationÂ that hadÂ just occurred in Connecticut, they wanted to turn in theirÂ weapons,’ PaulÂ Loriquet, a spokesman for the Camden police, said in an interview with Philly.Com
Among the weapons handed in were scores ofÂ rifles, shotguns and pistols, sawed-off shotguns, a century-old antique weapon,Â a rifle used for hunting elephants and five fully automaticÂ weapons.
Some 90 per cent were in working condition.
Many were illegal weapons under state laws;Â some were so-called community guns stashed around the neighborhood.
All those who turned in guns were promisedÂ anonymity and no questions asked.
‘A lot of people said they don’t wantÂ theÂ guns around the house now,’ said state Attorney General JeffreyÂ Chiesa as heÂ announced the result of the program held Friday andÂ Saturday at two CamdenÂ churches.
NJ.comÂ reported that those who came to theÂ event were paid up to $250 per weapon with ‘no questions asked.’
Gun owners received $25 for BB guns, $50Â inoperable firearms, $150 for revolvers, semi automatics, shotguns and riflesÂ and $250 for assault weapons.
Nearly all of the weapons are to beÂ destroyed.
‘The more we unarm ourselves then maybe weÂ can stop some of the violence that’s going on. If we don’t have the firearm thenÂ we can’t use theÂ firearm,’ said James Green, who turned over his firearm.
The shooting at a Newtown elementary schoolÂ on Friday left 26 people dead, including 20 children, ages 6 and 7.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, used a BushmasterÂ AR-15 assault rifle in the killings, and used a handgun to kill himself asÂ police officers closed in.
Twice as many firearms were turned inÂ Saturday, the day after, than on Friday, Chiesa noted.
‘These guns are coming from people’s homesÂ and many times end up asÂ items of burglary, end up on our streets and in theÂ wrong hands. WeÂ would much rather have custody of these guns now as opposed toÂ at theÂ scene of a crime after a shooting,’ said Chief Scott Thomas, CamdenÂ Police.
It wasn’t just criminals who handed back their riflesÂ and firearms to the police on Friday and Saturday – law abiding citizens didÂ too
The authorities at the two churches in Camden, NewÂ Jersey who accepted the guns anonymously were impressed with their haul
It wasn’t just the criminals handing in gunsÂ in Camden – law abiding members of the public were bringing in their guns to ridÂ their homes of their firearms.
‘I don’t want them around the house anymoreÂ so I brought them here,’ said Henry Budniak.
Officials have said there are about 170 drugÂ markets operating in Camden, a city of 77,000 near Philadelphia, more than 700Â people on parole and 600 registered sex offenders.
The city ranks first in violent crime,Â according to the FBI. It also leads the country in murders for cities of moreÂ than 50,000 people.
The murder rate is unthinkably high. In 2007,Â Newark attracted national attention for a record number of homicides.
Some residents, interviewed Friday, said theyÂ turned in guns simply because they no longer wanted them in their homes. One manÂ said he would use the $400 he received to buy Christmas gifts.
Source: The Daily Mail