The province’s month-long gun amnesty program in June resulted in a veritable arsenal being turned in to the Delta Police Department.
The program allowed citizens to turn in unwanted firearms and weapons. As long as the guns had not been used in the commission of an offence, there would be no penalty for unregistered guns turned in.
The program’s goal 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.
In Delta alone, 57 firearms were turned in to police, along with more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition.
Among the weapons turned in locally were 11 shotguns, 33 rifles, 10 restricted handguns, and three prohibited handguns.
In addition, there were 20 air pistols and air rifles turned in, as well as one starter pistol, and a replica handgun.
Four seal bombs were also turned in, which are small water-proof explosives used by fishermen to scare away aquatic mammals from their fishing nets.
Delta Police spokesperson Sgt. Ciaran Feenan said that while the number of weapons turned in locally was down from the 110 firearms handed over in 2006 when the last amnesty was held, fewer firearms makes for safer streets.
“Anytime we can take a firearm off the streets it makes our community safer,” he said. “We’re grateful for the community’s participation in the program.”
All of the firearms handed over to police will be ballistic tested to ensure they were not used in any crimes, and then destroyed.
Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton put the results of the province-wide effort on display, Friday at the Richmond RCMP detachment,.
“Let’s get those out of places they shouldn’t be,” Anton told reporters of the weapons that were turned over to police from across the province.
More than 1,800 firearms, 155 other weapons and about 37,000 rounds of ammunition were turned in to police for destruction at locations across the province.
Of those, 1,429 firearms and 97 other unwanted weapons were turned in to RCMP detachments.
“The public’s response and participation in the amnesty was overwhelming successful,” said deputy commission Craig Callens, the commanding officer of the B.C. RCMP. “We were able to reach small rural communities such as Tumbler Ridge in northern B.C. with six firearms turned in and the largest community the RCMP polices, namely Surrey, who had 237 guns turned in.”
The majority of the firearms handed over to Mounties were rifles, shotguns and handguns, including a machine gun received by the Kelowna RCMP and 1880s bayonets turned into the Ridge Meadows RCMP.
But there was also a six-foot long military-grade missile, kept as a souvenir from a tour of duty overseas, was also turned in by a relative of the keeper.