Mayor Mark A. Smith announced that Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Center will be the Bayonne location for a New Jersey gun buyback program on Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on both days. The parish center is located at 39 East 22nd Street in Bayonne. The Mt. Carmel Parish Center is set back from the street, and has a parking lot for visitors. The gun buyback program will also take place at five other church locations in Hudson and Union Counties on those same two days. Residents can turn in up to three guns anonymously, with no questions asked. In return they will receive up to $250 per weapon.
The event is co-sponsored by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the Hudson and Union County Prosecutors’ Offices, and the Bayonne, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Linden, Plainfield, and Union City Police Departments.
The gun buyback program began last December, and has taken place in several locations across New Jersey. Since December, there have been gun buyback events in New Jersey in Atlantic, Camden, Cumberland, Essex, Mercer, Monmouth, and Passaic Counties. They have resulted in the collection of more than 12,500 deadly firearms statewide. The program’s goal is to reduce the number of weapons in circulation. New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said, “A gun that is no longer in circulation – a gun that no longer exists – cannot be used to commit a crime, to shoot someone in the heat of an argument, or go off accidentally in the hands of a curious child.” Mayor Smith said, “Gun violence is a serious problem in America. The gun buyback program is an important step forward in improving public safety in New Jersey. The City of Bayonne welcomes the opportunity to participate in this statewide effort.” Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell said, “I would like to thank the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Bayonne Police Department for working together closely to plan the gun buyback event in Bayonne. We look forward to continuing more such efforts in the future.” Police Chief Ralph Scianni said, “The Bayonne Police Department and all of the law enforcement agencies involved have developed the gun buyback program in cooperation with local churches. I would like to thank Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church for providing its parish center as the Bayonne location for this important program. The members of the religious community are vital partners in the effort to reduce crime and violence.”
As with the other state gun buyback programs, guns will be purchased using funds provided by the Attorney General’s Office through its Division of Criminal Justice. Additional funding will be provided by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and CarePoint Health.
All weapons must be transported to the buyback sites unloaded and contained in a closed or fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the vehicle in which it is being transported. The police are warning the public not to handle or attempt to unload unfamiliar weapons. Instead, residents can contact Captain Robert Mullins at 201-858-6917. He will arrange to send a firearms expert to their homes to render the weapons safe. The firearms expert from the Bayonne Police Department would then transport the weapons to the buyback site at Mt. Carmel Parish Center. In order to receive money for the weapons being surrendered, the persons who possessed the weapons would have to make their own way to the buyback site the same time as the police officer. The police will not transport anyone to the site.
People wishing to turn in weapons, but who are unable to travel to the buyback site, should contact Captain Mullins at 201-858-6917 to schedule an appointment to have the weapons picked up at their homes. However, in that situation the resident would not receive cash for the weapons being surrendered. The Bayonne Police Department is not handling the cash for the buyback program. Police officers will not be delivering money to people’s homes.
In addition to the parish center of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Bayonne, the other churches providing sites for the buyback program are: 1) Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church, 661 Montgomery Street, Jersey City; 2) St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, 615 8th Street, Union City; 3) New Zion Baptist Church, 800 Flora Street, Elizabeth; 4) Morning Star Christian Church, 1009 Chandler Avenue, Linden; and 5) Shiloh Baptist Church Annex, 525 West 4th Street, Plainfield.