Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lawyer offers $5,000 for proof Plainfield gun buyback is legal

Some of the weapons turned in at a gun buyback (not Plainfield).
While Plainfield's City Council was told on Monday that 21 weapons had been turned in during the first of two Saturday buyback programs, an Eatontown attorney was offering $5,000 to anyone who could 'prove' the gun buyback program was legal.

Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig reported to City Council that 21 weapons had been turned in at last Saturday's three locations -- Shiloh Baptist, Grace Episcopal and Rose of Sharon churches.

According to Hellwig, the buyback program is funded by a $20,000 grant from the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

The program concludes this Saturday, when weapons may be turned in anonymously and without any questions asked at four more church locations between Noon and 4:00 PM --

  • St. Mary's Church, Liberty Street & West 6th

  • Ruth Fellowship Ministries, 735 South Second Street (near Spooner)

  • Mt. Zion AME Church, 630 East Front Street

  • First-Park Baptist Church, West 7th & Central Avenue
The program comes after a community-wide discussion of guns and youth violence was spearheaded last year by the Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church.

According to AMMOLAND (see here), an online gun news site, Eatontown attorney Evan F. Nappen is offering $5,000 to anyone who can 'prove' the gun buyback is legal (Nappen's website is here).

Specifically, AMMOLAND reports that Nappen objects to the program on the following grounds --

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.
Nappen, who publishes the NJ Gun Law Guide, says he will use the 'proof' to update his guide.

The only thing I would point out is the guns are not 'received' by the churches.

The churches are merely providing space for law enforcement officials to gather in the turned-in weapons. The churches themselves are not 'receiving' the weapons.

Is this a publicity stunt or is Nappen mounting a serious challenge to the operation of these gun buyback programs?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

What is the point of this program? Is there any data that it actually works and reduces any crime? 20K can be better use for training.

My thoughts are that they turn over guns that don't work, get money and buy new ones.

What stats are there that this works?

Anonymous said...

# 1 how can it be a buy back when the city NEVER owned the guns involved - all participants involved are in TOTAL violation of many NJ state + federal firearms laws - all transaction require state + federal licensing - i wonder if any criminals or gang members turned in weapons - very doubtfull !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: is it possible the police or the Prosecutor's office do check to see whether the guns turned in match any used in a crime (one of this attorney's objections)? He is in Eatontown; we're in Plainfield. I'm glad to see any gun out of circulation here or anywhere else.