Bryan Cohen Mar. 26, 2013, 5:34pm

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced Monday that more than 2,000 guns were turned in by Atlantic County residents during a state-sponsored gun buyback initiative over the weekend.

Residents in Atlantic City and Pleasantville turned in 2,061 guns in total, including 14 assault weapons and more than 1,000 handguns during the two-day event. In five state-led gun buybacks, 9,153 guns were collected in Atlantic County.

Chiesa said the strong turnout demonstrates public support for the initiative and the need to rid neighborhoods of deadly weapons.

"It's a credit to the residents of Atlantic County that we took so many lethal weapons off the street this past weekend," Chiesa said. "Through their strong desire to have safer neighborhoods, we got more than 2,000 guns out of circulation. Those guns can never be stolen in a burglary and then used in a street crime. They'll never be used to terrorize an innocent person, turn an argument into a tragedy, kill a curious child, or claim the life of one of our brave police officers. "

Chiesa said that while gun buybacks alone cannot solve the problem of gun violence, they serve as an important element of a broader strategy to reduce shooting injuries and deaths in the state.

"There is no question that buybacks are part of the overall solution," Chiesa said. "And we believe they're making a real difference throughout our state, particularly in light of the hundreds of illegal guns we've been able to take out of circulation."

The weekend buyback removed 119 illegal guns from circulation, with more than 1,100 returned by the public in the five state-led buybacks. People who turned in weapons during the no questions asked buyback received $250 per gun with a maximum of three guns per person.

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