Initiative Has Gotten More Than a Thousand Guns Off of Camden's Streets, Same Success Possible in Trenton
TRENTON -- Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) today announced that she has made a formal request to Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to provide funding for a gun buy back program in Trenton. A recent successful initiative in Camden was financed with criminal forfeiture funds.
In a letter today to Attorney General Chiesa, Senator Turner pointed to the spike in gun violence in our capital city, and the concerns expressed to her by residents and business owners, as well as state employees and visitors, who are fearful of loss of life and property. Senator Turner noted that she has "no illusions that a gun buy back program will eliminate crime," but believes that getting guns out of homes will help to prevent them from falling into the hands of criminals and children.
"While we may not be able to eradicate crime completely, we can work to chip away at the crime problem with initiatives such as this," said Senator Turner. "This is just one piece of a multi-faceted approach to eliminate gun violence. Step by step, bit by bit, we can make our communities safer."
Senator Turner is hopeful that with the success of the Camden initiative that resulted in the collection of over 1,100 guns, Trenton would also benefit from a cash-for-guns program. She noted that the food-for-guns buy back program earlier this year netted over 200 firearms, but believes that a cash-for-guns program would be more successful.
A full copy of the letter is below.
December 18, 2012
The Hon. Jeffrey Chiesa
Office of The Attorney General
P.O. Box 080
Trenton, NJ 08625-0080
Dear Attorney General Chiesa,
I read with great interest your successful initiative to buy back firearms from residents of Camden County. The collection of over 1,100 guns is indeed a great success. The residents of our state capital would greatly benefit from a similar initiative, and I am writing to request your consideration in providing funding to establish a gun buy back program in Trenton.
As you know, and as we have discussed, the City of Trenton is besieged by gun and gang related violence and crime. With 24 homicides this year and the loss of one third of the police force, residents and visitors are scared, concerned and outraged. My office receives calls from mothers and grandmothers who have lost their children, residents afraid for their life and property, and community leaders who are desperate for guidance and a way to stem the rise in violence. I recently received an email from a concerned father from a neighboring town who bought season tickets for his family to the Trenton Titans hockey games. This gentleman wrote of the economic warfare waged by guns and gangs, and shared his concerns for his family's safety, as well as the safety of the small businesses and their patrons.
With the spike in violence, Trenton's threadbare police force is forced to fight a battle with one hand tied behind its back. If we are to save our Capital City, we must be aggressive and proactive. I have no illusions that a buy back program will eliminate crime, but it will help to reduce the number of incidents in Trenton. We need to rid our streets and homes of guns and take away a criminal's ability to intimidate and retaliate with gun violence. I respectfully request your assistance obtaining the funding for a firearm buy back program in the City of Trenton as you did in Camden. I look forward to continuing this discussion.
Shirley K. Turner
Senator -- 15th District
CC: Joseph L. Bocchini Jr., Mercer County Prosecutor
John A. Kemler, Mercer County Sheriff
Ralph Rivera Jr., Trenton Police Director