Toronto’s gun buyback program has resulted in the collection of more than 1,500 firearms in its first two weeks, but could end up costing taxpayers potentially up to $750,000.
According to a report, the final cost of the buyback initiative will depend on how many guns are collected. The three-week program will end May 17.
The report said Toronto City Council will be voting this week on how much the Toronto Police Service needs to cover the costs.
The proposed budget would cover the compensation to the public, transporting the guns, processing the collected firearms, destroying them, as well as publicity and other costs necessary to administer the initiative.
Police said this program will have positive impacts on equity seeking groups and vulnerable Torontonians.
The gun buyback program will also help aid police efforts to reduce the number of unwanted firearms and illegal gun and gang-related activity.
“Every firearm is potentially a crime gun, fewer firearms on the streets of Toronto will assist in preventing gun related incidents,” the report said.
The report said anyone in possession of unwanted, unregistered and registered firearms are encouraged to contact the non-emergency number to arrange for an officer to retrieve the firearm. As part of the amnesty program, people who hand over guns to police will not face a charge for possessing or unsafely storing a firearm, said a news release.
“The Gun Amnesty/Buyback gives citizens a legal route to properly dispose of their unwanted firearms, without the threat of prosecution, and in turn, increasing the safety of our communities.”
The release said owners are being paid $200 for a long gun and $350 for a handgun.
To participate, people can call Toronto police’s non-emergency line at 416-808-2222 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and an officer will visit their home to pick up the gun.