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Toronto gun buyback program is most successful in city’s history, nets 2,700 firearms

WATCH: To help solve a growing problem of violent gun crime, the city approved a gun buyback program in the summer of 2018. But even after gathering more than 2,700 firearms, now destined to be destroyed, those on the front lines of anti-violence programs say the measure is not enough. Matthew Bingley reports.

Toronto police say their three-week gun buyback program was the most successful in the city’s history with over 2,700 firearms collected.

In a news release Saturday morning, police said they collected over 1,900 long guns and over 800 handguns during the program, which began on April 26 and lasted until Friday.

In comparison, a similar program in 2008 brought in a total of 2000 guns.

“We are pleased with the participation of Torontonians taking steps to safely dispose of unwanted guns in their homes,” police Chief Mark Saunders said in the release.

READ MORE: Gun buyback program launched by Toronto police to combat firearm violence

“These guns can present a potential danger if they fall into the wrong hands.”

During the program, Toronto residents were able to call police to request a pick up for both registered and unregistered guns from their homes. Residents received compensation amounting to $200 for handing over long guns and $350 for handguns, resulting in a total payout amount around $660,000.

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Residents who turned over illegal guns did not face charges for possessing or unsafely storing the firearm.

Police said all guns collected through the program will be destroyed.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said that the program was launched in response to a rise in gun violence in the city last year.

READ MORE: More than 1,500 guns collected so far in Toronto’s gun buyback program, could cost $750,000: report

Tory has also repeatedly called for a handgun ban in the city in the aftermath of the Danforth mass shooting last July.

“Gun violence remains a serious concern for both the community and law enforcement,” Tory said in Saturday’s statement.

“We know ending gun violence will take a variety of measures – there is no one magic answer. Every gun surrendered is one less gun in our community and one less gun potentially available to people who want to cause problems in our city.”

-With files from The Canadian Press

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