VANCOUVER, BC – British Columbia?s police departments hope to make homes across the province safer by declaring a BC-wide Gun Amnesty this June.
With the cooperation and assistance of the Ministries of the Solicitor General and the Attorney General, B.C.?s police departments will run the program from June 1 to June 30. The amnesty gives residents of B.C. who possess documented or undocumented weapons that have not been used in a criminal offence the opportunity to turn in guns and ammunition to their local police force without being charged.
?During the month of June, British Columbians have the opportunity to surrender their unwanted, unregistered or illegal firearms and ammunition,? said Central Saanich Chief Constable Paul Hames, President of the British Columbia Chiefs of Police.
?This amnesty is another tool in the fight against gun violence,? said Solicitor General John Les. ?Removing guns from circulation will enhance public safety and reduce the risk of these weapons falling into the hands of criminals.?
?In support of this police initiative, I have directed the B.C. crown prosecutors to refrain from charging anyone who voluntarily surrenders a firearm during the month of June,? said Attorney General Wally Oppal. ?However, Crown Counsel will resume charging under sections 91, 92, 93 and 95 as of July 1.?
Police would like all unregistered guns to be turned in, even imitation and pellet weapons. Other dangerous weapons such as registered firearms, pepper spray and knives will also be accepted under the amnesty.
?The vast majority of firearms owners are law abiding citizens. However, circumstances change ? a parent may pass away ? and their relatives may not want these firearms in their possession. The amnesty provides a safe and easy way for people to dispose of weapons while ensuring that they don?t fall into the wrong hands or hurt somebody in an accident,? said Hames.
People who possess these weapons are being asked to phone their local police on the non-emergency line listed in their area phonebook. Police will go to their residence to receive the weapon. It is important that residents do not transport these weapons themselves.
Most of the weapons that are turned in will be destroyed while some may be given to museums. Residents are urged to contact their local police for further information.