The Regina Police Service (RPS) is calling the city’s first gun amnesty program a huge success.
“I never thought we would have this many firearms at the end of the campaign,” Inspector Lorelee Davies said.
The RPS received 119 calls between February 1 and 15. Residents turned in 157 unwanted firearms. This includes 81 rifles, 30 shotguns, 25 prohibited or restricted weapons, and 21 pellet or starter pistols. Fifty-nine cases of ammunition were also turned in.
Halifax police ran a similar gun amnesty last September and collected 152 firearms in 11 days.
Chief Evan Bray said this will prevent these unwanted weapons from potentially falling into criminal hands. The guns police come across in criminal investigations are usually domestic.
“It’s not that we’ve uncovered a big drug ring that’s bringing them into Canada,” Bray said. “They’re either being bought and sold on the black market, they are being given to people, they are being stolen from break and enters, sometimes stolen in rural areas and brought into our community.”
Police have confirmed that one stolen firearm was turned in. They are still in the process of checking all weapons to see if any are involved in other crimes.
READ MORE: ‘It’s no secret that firearms are a problem in our community’: Regina Police launch gun amnesty
Bray once again acknowledged that criminals aren’t going to be the people turning in guns, but this is a pro-active measure of tackling rising gun crime in Regina.
“When you hear about drug seizures, drug investigations, it’s quite often that weapon seizures go right along with them. I think drugs and firearms go hand in hand,” Bray said.
“I’d say there’s also a correlation in there in regard to gangs and gang activity in our city.”
Bray said the units dedicated to investigating these issues meet on a weekly basis to update each other on trends they’re seeing.
Four weapons turned in through the gun amnesty will be going to museums. The rest will be incinerated.
Darryl Schemenauer from TnT Gunworks said he’d rather see people bring their guns to his store than see them be destroyed.
Over the past two weeks he says around 35 unwanted firearms have either been sold or donated to his store.
“Several of these firearms, we’re going to donate to the firearms training people. Other people donated firearms, we said we’d give them to the first young hunters that came in,” Schemenauer said.
“We’re just trying to get them back out to the people that will use them instead of destroying the firearms.”
One man brought in an antique early 1900’s Colt .22 calibre pistol he found in an old box of his grandfather’s.
“We’re trying to get that back into his family. He didn’t know what to do with that firearm. He was planning to destroy it, so he’s happy he brought it to us, and that firearm could be worth in that $1,500 to $2,000 dollar range,” Schemenauer said.
He adds that if people have unregistered weapons they have inherited, they can bring them into the store and TnT staff can help sort out the paperwork.
Bray said that they anticipate more calls to pick-up unwanted firearms in the coming days. While the amnesty period is over, he said offices will use discretion when it comes to unregistered firearms charges.
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