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Camden's record gun buyback

A Newtown effect?

An Uzi 9mm submachine gun -- the sort that can fire 600 rounds a minute -- was one of the 1,137 firearms surrendered for cash in Camden just before and immediately after the slaughter in Newtown, Ct..

Four other automatic assault weapons also were turned in, N.J. Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. The annual buyback was open to gun owners throughout Camden County; the number of guns amassed dwarfed last year's total of 57.

The latest arsenal of mass destruction to be taken off the streets was displayed Tuesday during a press conference by Chiesa, Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson, city Mayor Dana Redd and other officials.

"The word is, 'overwhelmed,'" Redd tells me, describing her reaction to seeing the array of weaponry. "But I'm also elated the program was a success.

"You will always have people who react with pessimism, but one or 1,000 is that many guns off the street," the mayor says, adding that the buy-back is one of several efforts. The city also is participating in the White House National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, Redd notes.

PHOTO: April Saul, Philadelphia Inquirer