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RUMSON OUTDRAWS ASBURY IN GUN BUYBACK

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_01-220x161-3262222A two-day gun-buyback program aimed at getting unwanted firearms out of circulation ended with a bit of a bang this weekend.

Police in affluent, suburban Rumson collected more weapons than their counterparts in urban Asbury Park.

The outcome surprised even Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, whose office oversaw the program. And it made the anonymous donor who funded the program look “brilliant,” he told redbankgreen.

The gun buyback, held Friday and Saturday, offered individuals an opportunity to surrender weapons, anonymously if they chose, in exchange for cash.

A donor, who put up $25,000 for the program through an organization called the Community Foundation of New Jersey, did so on two conditions: that his identity not be revealed, and that one of the gun collection sites be in Rumson.

The donor lives in the Rumson area, said Gramiccioni, but didn’t say why he wanted Rumson included. “All he said was that he particularly liked that the collection program was apolitical,” Gramiccioni said.

In all, the program brought in 218 weapons: 93 in Asbury Park, where the Shiloh Community Fellowship Church served as the exchange place, and 125 at the Rumson police department.

The final tally included five assault weapons, 126 handguns, 39 shotguns and 24 rifles. Among the assault weapons surrendered was a Colt AR-15, a Mossberg assault shotgun and a World War Two-era Japanese bolt-action rifle.

Four inoperable weapons and 20 BB-guns were also surrendered.

Gramiccioni said he was “surprised” that Rumson outcollected Asbury Park, which has been plagued with a recent rash of shootings, and said he didn’t know if it meant there were more unwanted guns in the Rumson area, if those who surrendered them there found it more convenient to do so, or if other factors were involved.

But “it turned out he had great foresight,” Gramiccioni said of the donor, “because we got a ton of guns.”

The weapons, collected at a cost of $15,000, will be destroyed, he said.

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