A total of 86 long rifles, 22 handguns and over 8,000 rounds of ammunition were turned in during the Toronto Police two-week gun amnesty that ended on November 16.
“This is a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition when you look at the fact that the amnesty ran for just 14 days,” said Chief Mark Saunders, at a news conference at police headquarters on November 25 for the #AmnestyTO initiative announced during Crime Prevention Week. “Everything we have here will be destroyed.”
The guns were recovered from owners who called police to safely dispose of the firearms, which were often kept out of a gun locker where thieves could get hold of them.
“A lot of people felt the firearms in their possession were a burden,” said Saunders. “They were handed down as gifts and they just didn’t know what to do with them. Finding out that all of those people were not aware of what to do with them is a bit concerning from a safety point of view, since we have dozens of stolen firearms every year.”
In 2014, 27 firearms were reported stolen in Toronto.
Chief Saunders said it’s important for people who own firearms to store them securely.
“I am glad that the program was a success. It was a good reminder to those who legally possess firearms that there are laws and regulations in place and you have to comply with them. If you are not, you are jeopardizing the community and that’s a big concern. If you are not complying with the regulations, you will lose the opportunity and privilege to be in possession of a firearm.”
Unprotected firearms could end up in the wrong hands and lead to serious injury or even death.
Saunders called on gun owners to ensure their licensed firearms are properly stored.