Unused firearms turned in during gun amnesty

The Salmon Arm RCMP collected several firearms as part of a month-long firearm amnesty in October

Staff Sgt. Scott West

Staff Sgt. Scott West

The Salmon Arm RCMP collected several firearms as part of a month-long firearm amnesty in October.

Eleven Salmon Arm residents surrendered  both handguns and long guns, as well as ammunition.

“Most of the firearms were ones that were not being used and had not been used for some time. Now that they are out of circulation they can not fall into the wrong hands,” said Staff Sgt. Scott West.

Many of the firearms came from retirees who no longer use them and are getting out of sports such as hunting and target shooting.

At a provincial level, police and officials announced on Thursday that 1,184 firearms, including replicas, were turned in last month, following 690 requests to remove firearms and ammunition.

“The firearms that were retrieved included 543 rifles, 223 shotguns and 222 handguns,” said B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Chief Const. Les Sylven. “In addition, British Columbians also asked police to remove thousands of rounds of ammunition, limited explosives and a large number of replicas.”

This is the third gun amnesty the province has held in the past decade. The previous two were in 2006 and 2013 and yielded more than 5,000 firearms.

The number of firearms retrieved per city didn’t depend on the size of the city. According to Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, 109 were returned in Kelowna, 74 in Surrey, 67 in Delta, 52 in Saanich, 57 in North Vancouver and 46 in Vancouver.

“As we said at the beginning of this amnesty, the goal would be simple: reduce the number of illegally held and unwanted weapons in B.C.,” said Sylven, emphasizing that there was no desire to remove legal guns from licensed owners.

The event operated on a ‘no questions asked’ basis unless the guns were involved in criminal proceedings, he added.

“People found themselves in possession of something that is no longer lawful – perhaps grandparents brought something back from a different time – and took advantage of this opportunity to remove that potential risk,” said Sylven.