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Now Bergen is buying back guns

In February, law enforcement authorities sponsored a gun buyback program in Essex County, collecting 1,770 weapons from Essex residents over two days.

Now, it’s Bergen County’s turn. On Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office will partner with local police departments to host a countywide gun buyback at places of worship in seven communities: Garfield, Hackensack, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Maywood, Park Ridge and New Milford.

According to a statement from Sheriff Michael Saudino’s office, the buyback is being held “in light of the recent acts of gun violence that have taken place across our nation.”

“If we can take even one dangerous weapon off our streets, we can make Bergen County a safer place in which to live, work and play,” the statement said.

Individuals who turn in firearms can receive up to $300 for each weapon surrendered. Compensation varies by firearm type: $20 for non-operational weapons; $80 for rifles and shotguns; $100 for handguns, and $300 for automatic assault weapons and machine guns.

Fully automatic weapons are considered assault weapons (machine guns/machine pistols, etc).

BB guns, pellet guns, gunpowder and ammunition will also be accepted, however no cash value will be offered for those items, the Sheriff ’s Office noted.

Unlike the Essex County initiative, which had a threegun- per person limit, Bergen County has set no limit on the number of firearms an individual can turn in. However, “we are not able to accept any weapons from gun dealers,” Bergen authorities said.

The buyback will be funded by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with money seized from criminal activities.

At each surrender site, BCSO firearms experts and officers will examine and secure all weapons. “An officer will assist each individual in completing a voluntary surrender form that includes a general description of each firearm, time and date of surrender, and amount of compensation provided,” authorities said.

Complimentary trigger locks and gun safety information will also be provided at each location.

All firearms should be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gun box, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which they are being transported.

Ammunition should be transported in a separate container.

Officers will be on hand to assist individuals with carrying weapons safely into each buyback location.

Those locations are:

April 13

Garfield

Our Lady of Mount Virgin

St. Joseph’s Center

188 MacArthur Ave.

Maywood

First Presbyterian Church

401 Maywood Ave.

Park Ridge

Our Lady of Mercy Church

46 Pascack Road

Hackensack

Mount Olive Baptist Church

260 Central Ave

Hackensack

Rhema Worship Center Church

156 Passaic Street

April 14

Englewood

Mt. Calvary Baptist Church

90 West Demarest Ave.

Fair Lawn Temple

Beth Sholom

40-25 Fair Lawn Ave.

Hackensack

New Hope Baptist Church

214 Berdan Pl.

Hackensack

Trinity Baptist Church

218 Passaic St.

New Milford

St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

225 Center St.

Teaneck

First Baptist Church

1592 Teaneck Road

For more information about the Bergen County gun buyback, contact BCSO’s Community Outreach Unit at 201-336- 3540.

–Karen Zautyk

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