Advocates say gun amnesty program way off target
A new gun amnesty program in B.C. that allows owners to turn in their weapons without fear of facing weapons-related charges is coming under fire by gun advocates.
For the month of June, people who have unwanted or unauthorized guns, weapons or ammunition in their home can turn it in to B.C. law enforcement agencies as long as it has not been used in a crime.
RCMP Insp. Brad Haugli told CTV News the program will make for safer streets, because if the gun is with the police it means it can’t be used to kill or injure someone.
“Every gun turned in is one less gun that could fall into the hands of criminals,” he said.
The last gun amnesty program in B.C. was in 2006, when more than 3,200 guns were turned in and 96,000 rounds of ammunition. An M-16 assault rifle and rocket launcher were also surrendered.
But gun advocates feel programs like this unfairly target responsible gun owners, not criminals.
Jim Bennett of the Historical Arms Collectors Society of B.C. says gun owners “are a simple, easy target for police.”
“In no way shape or form is this amnesty going to make the streets of Vancouver, B.C, or Canada any safer because they have taken a gun off the street," he said.
But law enforcers say the program is effective because guns owned by responsible owners sometimes make their way into the hands of criminals through no fault of their own.
"Weapons that are in households that could be taken through a break and enter will find their ways to criminals to commit a crime,” said Haugli.
Every gun turned in will be destroyed. Police do not want people walking in to their detachments with weapons, and will come pick them up from you.
Click here for more information on the B.C. Gun Amnesty Program