Dianne Watts calls for gun amnesty program in Surrey
Surrey parents who discover their children are keeping a gun in the house should be able to turn the weapon over to police worry-free, according to the city’s former mayor.
Dianne Watts, now a Conservative MP, is calling for a temporary amnesty program that would encourage parents to help get firearms off the streets.
The details haven’t been worked out, but Watts said parents who hand over guns could be assured their children won’t be charged for having them. She believes many residents know there are firearms at home, but don’t know how to respond.
“Typically, they’re not going to call the police and turn their son in or put them in jeopardy where they might be charged,” Watts said.
Amnesty would only last a short time; Watts proposed a three-week window for the program.
“After that, you will be charged,” she said.
There have already been 32 shootings reported in Surrey so far this year, the bulk of which Mounties blame on an ongoing drug conflict between two relatively new groups.
Frustration has been growing among residents, who want to see more done to combat the problem.
Coun. Bruce Hayne said he’s in favour of trying out an amnesty program, but questioned how effective it would be.
“When the bad guys want to get ahold of hand guns in this city, in this country, it seems like they can, unfortunately, but anything we can do to get handguns off our streets is certainly a welcome initiative,” Hayne said.
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner has scheduled a press conference for Friday to announce new measures to tackle the city’s epidemic of gun violence. Mounties and B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Morris are also expected to attend.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s St. John Alexander