More than 1,000 guns collected in June amnesty

  • Jul. 24, 2013 4:00 p.m.

BC’s latest month-long gun amnesty found its mark, with 1,801 firearms, 155 other weapons and approximately 30,700 rounds of ammunition turned in for destruction, according to the Ministry of Justice. The goal of the program, which ran through June, was to encourage British Columbians to safely dispose of unwanted weapons that might otherwise fall into the hands of criminals, children or others, potentially leading to tragic consequences. British Columbians were encouraged to surrender weapons – ranging from high-powered firearms and crossbows to pellet and replica guns – as well as ammunition, by calling their local police to attend, secure and remove the items. The latest results show the value of amnesty programs. Back-to-back programs in 1997 and 1998 yielded an average of 2,500 firearms and 100,000 rounds of ammunition. In 2006, the number of firearms rose to more than 3,200, plus another 725 unwanted weapons, while the number of rounds was relatively stable at 96,500. As with past campaigns, some interesting items were turned in, including: . 1,026 rifles, 394 handguns and 380 shotguns. . A machine gun received by Kelowna RCMP. . Historical firearms, including a Lee-Enfield .303 rifle from World War II. . Bayonets from the 1800s, turned in to Ridge Meadows RCMP. . A well-publicized military missile more than six feet long, turned in by the relative of an individual who reportedly kept it as a souvenir of a tour of duty overseas. The program, endorsed and announced by the BC Association of Chiefs of Police in February, was led by RCMP E-Division on behalf of the provincial RCMP, with support from B.C.’s municipal police departments. Quick Facts: . The amnesty did not apply to weapons or firearms used to commit crimes. . According to the RCMP, about 5.3 per cent of British Columbians have a firearms licence, slightly below the national average of 5.7 per cent. . StatsCan reports that in 2011, the last year for which a figure is available, 158 homicides (27 per cent) in Canada were committed with firearms.