October amnesty will take aim at illegal weapons
British Columbians can unload old guns, ammunition – any unwanted firearms or weapons – and ensure they never end up in the hands of criminals during a provincewide amnesty Oct. 1-31, 2016.
The month-long amnesty will apply to any documented or undocumented firearms and other weapons – including restricted and prohibited ones – that have not been used for a criminal purpose, as well as to any amount of ammunition.
Police leaders remind interested firearms owners to call their local detachment or their department’s non-emergency line to arrange for officers to attend and retrieve the weapons. Under no circumstances should anyone deliver them to police.
Firearms and ammunition surrendered during the amnesty will be destroyed. Police also anticipate receiving tips related to other unwanted and unauthorized firearms.
In the past decade, two previous British Columbia firearms amnesties in 2006 and 2013 have yielded more than 5,000 firearms – including 900 handguns and two machine guns – plus approximately 127,500 rounds of ammunition. Among hundreds of other weapons surrendered were a rocket launcher, a military missile, historical rifles and antique bayonets.
“In past amnesties, many British Columbians have surrendered firearms with an interesting or even distinguished past, because they recognize those histories could turn tragic if the weapons fell into the wrong hands,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris. Stemming the flow of illegal weapons to gangs and the drug trade is critical to furthering public safety on our streets, and that’s why this amnesty is an important component of our expanded Guns and Gangs Strategy.”
* In April, Surrey RCMP officers, supported by the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) and Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC), visited local owners of restricted and prohibited firearms with expired registrations. While most owners asked police to safeguard their firearms pending re-registration, about 50 unwanted firearms were surrendered.
* StatsCan reports that in 2014, 156 homicides (31 per cent) in Canada were committed with firearms.
* According to the RCMP, in 2013, about 5.3 per cent of British Columbians had a firearms licence, slightly below the national average of 5.7 per cent.
* The RCMP, which is responsible for the Canadian Firearms Program, provides direct operational and technical firearms-related support to law enforcement across Canada.
Results of B.C.’s 2013 firearms amnesty:
Information on firearms licensing (Canadian Firearms Program):