A gun believed to be the first version of an assault rifle was among those turned in during Atlantic County's gun buyback. If it proves to have historic value, it could end up in a museum rather than melted down with the others.

Lynda Cohen

One gun bought during Atlantic County’s buyback could end up in a museum instead of being melted down.

A World War II-era gun, a Sturmgewehr 44, caught a lot of attention when it was turned in Friday at the Guns for Cash event in Pleasantville’s First Baptist Church.

The StG 44 is an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II. It is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle.

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There is some precedent for saving guns turned in during buybacks.

A vintage Uzi collected during a previous buyback in Trenton was sent to the State Police Museum in Mercer County, State Police Lt. Col. Louis Klock said. An Uzi is an Israeli submachine gun designed by Uziel Gal in the late 1940s. It went into service in 1950 and is now in worldwide use, according to the website www.uzi.com.

“If it has historical significance ... we would notify the State Police,” acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said.

That wouldn’t be the place for the StG 44, however, Klock said.

Depending on its condition, it would most likely best be suited for the National Guard Militia Museum in Sea Girt. But he wasn’t optimistic.

“It appears in pretty rough shape,” he said. “So, in all likelihood, it could end up melted down with the rest.”

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