Police to collect weapons

Police departments in B.C. will collect unwanted and unauthorized guns from the public during a firearms amnesty in June...

Police departments throughout British Columbia will collect unwanted and unauthorized guns from the public during a firearms amnesty in June 2013.

The program, announced at a meeting of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, will help remove the firearms from the community, reducing the risk of them falling into the hands of criminals.

It is also expected to generate tips on illegal firearms and promote goodwill between police and local communities.

“There will be further messaging about this from police as it gets closer to June,” said Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk.

For the entire month of June, people who want to surrender ammunition or weapons, including imitations and replicas, can contact their local police and provide basic information on the items they want to surrender.

Police will visit residences to pick up the firearms, so the public should not bring the guns or ammunition to the police themselves. The amnesty will not apply to weapons or firearms used for a criminal purpose.

Similar programs in 1997, 1998 and 2006 successfully removed thousands of guns from B.C. streets. During the four-week, provincewide gun amnesty in 2006, British Columbians turned over 3,213 guns including 505 handguns, and 725 other unwanted weapons to police departments, as well as 96,500 rounds of ammunition, a rocket launcher and a machine gun.

“It’s vital to take guns off our streets and avoid tragedies that can tear families apart,” said B.C. justice minister Shirley Bond.

This year’s initiative is endorsed by the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police and will be led by RCMP E-Division on behalf of the provincial RCMP, and supported by all the municipal police departments in British Columbia.