Saskatchewan’s first provincial gun amnesty was, by all accounts, a success.
From March 29 to April 27 police and RCMP across the province took in unwanted firearms, replicas, pellet guns and even ammunition.
“It’s comforting to know that we’ve have 369 across the province, that might have fallen into the hands of people who wanted to do harm, that are no longer in that position,” Moose Jaw Police Chief Rick Bourassa said.
Last year 157 firearms were turned into Regina police over a two-week period in February. Over the last month Regina residents handed over 101 firearms to police.
Saskatoon lead the way with 122 firearms, including the province’s only antique. RCMP collected 97 across Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw saw 19 weapons returned, and Prince Albert saw 13.
“Guns are stolen, sometimes they’re located, or lost and located and sold illegally, so I think this is a great step for the public to be voluntarily turning in their firearms,” RCMP “F” Division Insp. Maureen Wilkie said.
For RCMP and police, the highlight was the 70 restricted or prohibited weapons that were turned in. Those included handguns, sawed off shotguns, even a homemade pistol.
“They are often used, quite often people make long weapons shorter so that they can be carried more easily and used without being seen in advance,” Bourassa explained.
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Among the collection were a couple treasures.
One Regina family turned in two rifles, including a Johnson Automatics 1941. The rifle was originally made for the United States military and now sells for as much as $50,000 USD. They also turned in a M1903 Springfield which range in value up to $1,800 USD.
The guns are some of the few being returned to the person who donated them.
“They’re all disposed of. I think there’s a couple that may end up in a museum, but everything else will be disposed of,” Regina Police Service Deputy Chief Dean Rae noted.
Although some of the weapons turned in could have resulted in charges for the owner, none were laid as a result of the amnesty.
Police and RCMP determined none of the weapons collected were involved in any crimes.
There are plans to hold another province-wide amnesty in the future, although the date has yet to be determined.