Police offer gun amnesty
Got a gun? Residents are being invited to get rid of unwanted weapons during a month-long gun amnesty program being held by a number of police services.
Brantford police and provincial police in Brant, Norfolk and Haldimand are joining many other police services across Ontario in helping to collect weapons from April 1 to 30.
“Our main concern is getting unwanted weapons off the streets,” said Norfolk OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk.
“Ontario has seen an increase in rural break and enters where homes are targeted and firearms are stolen. We want to reduce the number of weapons out there, especially those that aren’t legally owned or wanted.”
Sanchuk said many people find weapons when cleaning out a relative’s home after a death.
He noted that when British Columbia held a similar gun amnesty program in 2006 and 2013, thousands of firearms were turned in, including two machine guns, 900 handguns, a rocket launcher and a military-style missile.
“In 2016, there were 115 firearms stolen in OPP jurisdictions,” said Sanchuk. ”Another 125 were reported stolen from 2016 to November 2017. That’s 240 firearms that could be used for criminal purposes.
“If we get some of these guns out of houses, there’s fewer for people to steal.”
Brantford police have run their own gun amnesty programs in the past, the most recent in 2016.
“Fewer guns make for a safer community for everyone,” said city police Const. Shane Seibert.
He said that people inherit weapons from relatives and don’t know what to do with them.
“This program offers a safe way to turn something over to us if someone doesn’t have the desire to keep it any longer,” said Seibert. “In the past, we’ve had things like war souvenirs or unspent ammunition that’s come in.”
But Seibert and Sanchuk said the amnesty offer doesn’t necessarily extend to a weapon that’s been used in a crime.
“We will look at everything on a case-by-case basis,” said Seibert. “If it turns out a weapon was used in the commission of an offence, it will be investigated. But that doesn’t mean the person turning it in will be charged or necessarily held accountable if they can tell us how they came to have the weapon. “We have to do our due diligence.” The most important aspect of the amnesty program, stressed by all police services involved, is that weapons should not be taken to any police station.
“We want things handled properly and we definitely don’t want people coming in to the front desk with guns,” Seibert said.
Those wanting to make use of the program can call their nearest police service and identify what they have to turn in. An officer will call back and make arrangements to pick up the weapons.
The gun amnesty covers all types of firearms and ammunition, plus replica guns, pellet guns and antique weapons.
There’s no fee and no payment made to those surrendering the weapons.
To participate, call the Brantford police at 519-756-0113, Brant OPP at 519-442-2242, Norfolk OPP at 519426-3434 or Haldimand OPP at 905772-3322.
Gun owners also can go to the OPP website and click on www.opp. ca/gunamnesty to notify police they have a weapon they’d like to turn in.
Designer Stephanie Moscall-Varey, left, of Port Dover pins a dress worn by sixteen-year-old Kailey Post of Delhi on Saturday during a prom and graduation dress give-away at the Norfolk Public Library in Simcoe. This is the second year for the event. Organizer Tracy Renton felt there was a need in the community for girls due to the high cost of dresses for such occasions. Renton gathered about 150 dresses, along with shoes purses and jewelry through social media posts, and plans to have another give-away on April 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the same location.