B.C.'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, furthering public safety throughout the province.
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 sustained value of periodic gun 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 B.C. 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.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton -
"Regardless of whether a weapon's history is distinguished, shady or simply unknown, gun amnesty means its future is secure. Ultimately, all of these weapons are destroyed. They're not at risk of being found in a drawer by a child, or of ending up on the street after a break-in. I want to commend police and British Columbians for making this latest program a success in furthering public safety throughout our province."
Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, commanding officer of the RCMP in British Columbia -
"The misuse of firearms can take many forms. Whether it involves a child's curiosity, a domestic incident, a theft or some other turn of events, the impact is too often instantaneous and tragic. By calling police and arranging for safe disposal of their unwanted weapons and ammunition, thousands of British Columbians have helped to prevent potentially dozens of dangerous incidents."
British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police president Inspector Brad Haugli -
"The BCACP was a proud supporter of the 2013 Provincial Gun Amnesty and we are very pleased with the program's success. We'll never know how many lives have been saved or how many injuries, accidents and crimes have been prevented as a result of British Columbians' overwhelming support for the amnesty program. But there is no doubt that every community in this province is a little bit safer because thousands of weapons and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition have been turned over and will be securely destroyed."
- The amnesty did not apply to weapons or firearms used to commit crimes.
- The RCMP, which is responsible for the Canadian Firearms Program, provides direct operational and technical firearms-related support to law enforcement across Canada.
- 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.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice