Po­lice of­fer gun amnesty

The Delhi News-Record - - NEWS - SU­SAN GAM­BLE Brant­ford Ex­pos­i­tor SGam­ble@post­media.com

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.

BRIAN THOMP­SON/ POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

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.

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