FREEHOLD – A combined total of nearly 600 firearms have been collected for destruction as the result of a pair of gun buybacks hosted by the Prosecutor’s Office and partner agencies over the last month, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Tuesday.

Monmouth County was one of nine counties statewide to host separate gun buybacks across the state on Saturday, October 23; as a result, a total of 360 firearms were collected at the Second Baptist Church of Asbury Park, including 159 handguns, 133 rifles and shotguns, and three assault weapons.

Prompted by the healthy demand, a second event was held this past Saturday at the Bethel AME Church in Freehold; as a result, a total of 234 more firearms, including 144 handguns, 67 rifles and shotguns, and two assault weapons were collected.

Between the two events, more than $66,000 was paid out to participating citizens turning in 594 unwanted weapons.

“It’s abundantly clear that these gun buyback events are both popular and effective, and we plan to continue hosting them in the years to come,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “Every last firearm turned in is a firearm that will never be used to harm someone.”  

Saturday’s event was co-sponsored by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Shaun Golden; the Freehold Borough Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Craig W. Dispenza; the Freehold Township Police Department, under the leadership of Chief George K. Baumann; and the Bethel AME Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Ronald L. Sparks. 

The Asbury Park event was co-sponsored by MCPO, the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Monmouth County Police Chiefs Association, and the Asbury Park Police Department.  

The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General coordinated the Oct. 23 gun buybacks, which made history – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced several days later that nearly 3,000 firearms were turned at sites across the state that day, making it the most successful single-day event of its kind in state history. Thousands more firearms were turned in during gun buybacks held across the state in previous years.

The gun buybacks in Asbury Park and Freehold marked Monmouth County’s first such events since 2017.