Trenton gun buyback yields many illegal weapons

Trenton gun buyback yields rocket launcher, illegal guns

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Guns collected at a buyback event in Camden, N.J., in December 2012. (Office of the Attorney General) Guns collected at a buyback event in Camden, N.J., in December 2012. (Office of the Attorney General)

State and county officials say that 700 of the 2,600 weapons collected during a two-day gun buyback in Trenton were illegal.

Among the weapons turned in was a shoulder-fired rocket launcher, several semi-automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns.

New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa also said Tuesday that more than 90 percent of all the weapons purchased in the state's second gun backback were operable.

"I'm not here today suggesting buybacks are the singular answer," Chiesa said during a press conference. "However, there's no question that buybacks are part of the solution, and we believe that they're making a difference in New Jersey as evidenced by the 700 illegal firearms collected in this buyback."

He said about $324,000 was given out in the guns-for-cash program -- nearly $100,000 of that amount in vouchers because they ran out of cash.

Among other weapons, the Mercer buyback brought in more than 100 sawed-off shotguns, nearly 1,000 handguns, four Tech-9 semi-automatic pistols, two Hi-Point semi-automatic assault rifles like those used in the Columbine shootings, a shotgun disguised as a nightstick, an antique Uzi, two Thompson submachine guns, an Egyptian fully-automatic assault rifle, a World War II vintage Luger pistol, at least three M-1 carbine rifles, a 12-gauge shotgun with a "streetsweeper" drum cartridge capable of holding 12 rounds of ammunition, a shoulder-firing rocket launcher and a tear-gas/riot gun.

Chiesa said there are plans for another gun purchase program but he does not yet know when or where it will be held. 

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