Local police on the Saanich Peninsula are hoping to put a dent in the number of unwanted firearms in the community this month.
The Central Saanich Police Force and the Sidney North Saanich RCMP, along with police forces across the province, are participating in the Gun Amnesty initiative all throughout June.
The month-long amnesty is designed to give people a safe way to dispose of weapons, imitation weapons and related equipment and ammunition which they are not legally entitled to own, or which they no longer want.
“We want to get those unwanted guns, ammo and anything else related to firearms out of people’s houses who no longer want them,” said Central Saanich Police Service Corporal, Pat Bryant.
“A lot of the time we see people who end up with firearms as a result of a death in the family,” he continued.
“These weapons are passed down through generations and often people don’t know how to get rid of them. This is their chance to do that,” he said, adding that the amnesty provides the opportunity to reduce the number of firearms in our communities which enhances public safety.
“All it takes is a simple break and enter for those weapons to fall into the wrong hands,” Bryant said, “and having old weapons around the house also leave the potential for them to end up in the hands of children. If it’s unnecessary stuff that’s just hanging around the house, why not get rid of it?”
Last year, the initiative yielded 3,200 guns turned in across the province which included 505 handguns, almost 10,000 rounds of ammunition, a machine gun and even a rocket launcher. The turned-in weapons are mostly destroyed, but some (in good condition) are used for training purposes, Bryant said.
Any unwanted weapons, firearms or ammunition can be picked up by the Central Saanich Police Service by calling 250-652-4441 to arrange an appointment.