The Foolishness That Was New Jersey’s Gun “Buyback”

posted on August 7, 2017

On Thursday, New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino bragged that the state had taken in nearly 5,000 firearms in its recent “buyback,” and proclaimed residents to be safer as a result.

“Take every gun that can fire a bullet and hurt or kill someone for $100, $120, $200, we'll spend that every day of the week,” Porrino told “It’s money well-spent.”

Rather than money well-spent, it was really just smoke, mirrors and feel-good puffery.

According to a report at, the gun turn-in (it was not a “buyback” because the government never owned the guns, so couldn’t buy them back) took in nearly 5,000 guns.

Rather than money well-spent, it was really just smoke, mirrors and feel-good puffery.Browsing the pictures on the internet reveals a wide array of gun types were turned in. Of the 1,973 handguns, photos showed such treasures as collectible break-over revolvers manufactured in the early 1900s to modern revolvers and semi-autos commonly used by law-abiding Americans for sport shooting and self-defense. The shotguns taken in—reportedly 1,142—ranged from double-barrel upland bird guns, to pump-action 12 gauges designed for hunting waterfowl and home defense shotguns owned by millions of Americans. And the rifles—1,025 in total—included .22 rimfire rifles perfect for rabbit hunting or introducing youth to shooting and gun safety, along with deer rifles and even muzzleloading rifles (which, incidentally, are nearly never used in commission of crimes).

Among the 5,000 were 129 guns that police described as “assault weapons.” That number prompted acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick to join the bragging contest—and tell a few anti-gun whoppers of his own.

“Those are weapons of war,” acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick said of the 129 guns. “Those are weapons that were designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Those weapons are no longer on the streets of New Jersey.”

It’s likely that few, if any, of these guns were fully automatic firearms. Such guns are tightly regulated, and those who have licenses to own and sell them demand prices in the thousands of dollars, not the $200 New Jersey politicians offered for so-called “assault weapons.”

Consequently, most were likely AR-15 style sporting rifles, and Fitzpatrick’s condemnation is far from the truth. Anyone who is familiar with America’s most popular rifle knows that AR-15s are uniquely suited for competition shooting, and also are excellent rifles for sport shooting, hunting and even self-defense. To call them “weapons of war” and say they are “designed to kill as many people as possible” is an anti-gun lie that Fitzpatrick apparently didn’t mind parroting to somehow justify the gun turn-in program.

Anyone who is familiar with America’s most popular rifle knows that AR-15s are uniquely suited for competition shooting, and also are excellent rifles for sport shooting, hunting and even self-defense.Here’s the truth about gun turn-in programs in general. They are nothing more than feel-good projects used by cynical politicians to make their constituents believe they are doing something about violent crime. And judging by all the media hype the New Jersey turn-in received, promoters can probably consider their mission accomplished.

Yet studies done by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research have shown that buyback programs have little impact on preventing gun violence. Politicians are well aware of that fact. Still, Porrino and Fitzpatrick practically brag about all the lives they “saved” by bribing people to give up their privately owned firearms.

Here’s the cold, hard truth about the New Jersey gun “buyback.”

Destroying that heirloom .22 rifle given up by an 80-year-old grandfather who is short on groceries doesn’t have any effect on violent crime.

Melting down a grandmother’s historic break-open revolver that would be a welcome addition to many gun collections doesn’t stop one gang member from gunning down a rival gang member in a drug-related turf war.

Cutting up a Remington 700 deer rifle that could have been used by a law-abiding sportsman to put meat on the table for his family is so far removed from the issue of violent crime it’s impossible to even draw a line between the two.

And giving $100 for a handgun to a young mother who needs the money for back-to-school clothing for her children won’t help her protect herself and those same kids when an intruder kicks down her door in the middle of the night.

The basis for New Jersey’s gun buyback can be boiled down into four simple words—all guns are bad. Otherwise, why would turn-in promoters celebrate every gun they destroy? Yet in the real world, guns are used for a wide variety of positive reasons far, far more often than they are used in the commission of crime.

Gun-hating politicians who ignore that fact and pretend that taking guns from law-abiding Americans—whether compensated or not—reduces violent crime should be called out for their deceptive practices at every turn. And they should be voted out of office by law-abiding gun owners in the next election.

Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.


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