Police are struggling with gun crime on the Queen City’s streets, and some people might find that the source of the firearms is closer than expected.
“They’re not being brought in by the United States, in fact most of them are not even being brought across a border to come here. They’re coming from break and enters,” Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said.
“We see quite a lot of break and enters happening in rural Saskatchewan where firearms are stolen and then those end up in the city. Quite often they’re modified,” Bray said. “A barrel will be sawed off or something will be done to make them easier to conceal, but ultimately they’re being adapted so that they can be used easier to commit crime.”
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Last year was a bad year for gun-related crimes, but Bray is more optimistic about the first six months of this year.
“The numbers are going the right way. We’re seeing some decreases in terms of the number of people injured by a firearm,” Bray said. “We are seeing crime in general on a reduction right now.”
To keep safe, gun owners should keep their firearms unloaded and locked.
“If you’re storing your firearms, you know it never hurts to go above and beyond what’s required of you,” firearms instructor Annie Quesnel said. “Putting them in a safe but putting an extra locking device on them can never hurt.”
“A purpose-built gun safe is a really good thing to get, and on top of that you can get trigger locks, cable locks, something that will physically go on the gun itself and reduce further access.”
When the city offered gun amnesty earlier this year, 157 firearms were turned in, no questions asked.
Regina police plan to offer amnesty again next year, and they’re hoping to turn it into a provincial program.
“There are avenues for you to turn those in for destruction so that they don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people,” he said.
“Nobody wants, a, their firearm stolen and, b, their firearm used to commit a robbery,” Bray said. “You’re protecting yourself, you’re protecting your property, and as importantly, you’re protecting your community by locking them up and abiding by the gun laws.”