The gun amnesty launched by Regina Police Service (RPS) is off to a successful start.
Two firearms have already been collected by officers along with ammunition.
By early Wednesday morning, the start of the two-week amnesty, two more calls had been logged from gun owners wanting to dispose of their firearms.
“Our intent is simply to take the guns off the streets and give people a chance to turn them over to police officers where they will be destroyed,” Chief Evan Bray explained.
Legislation dictates that police must destroy firearms they receive.
The program will run from Feb. 1 – 15, and those who turn in their unwanted guns will receive their choice of either a one-month bus pass or a one-month pass to a leisure centre. During this period, police will not pursue charges related to the unauthorized registration of licensing of a firearm.
Destroying not best option
While he’s not disputing the ultimate intention of getting guns out of the hands of criminals, TnT Gunworks and Sporting Goods’ Darryl Schemenauer does question whether destroying the guns is the answer.
“Everybody wants the guns off the streets. I hope it works, I hope we can help a few people out but there is value in a lot of these firearms,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt my business so much. We just don’t like to see a firearm destroyed when there could be other uses for it.”
He said some firearms are historic, and there’s a reason they should be kept. Other guns could be donated, Schemenauer said, to new hunters or instructors. Some guns could be re-sold or the parts re-used.
“These guns will go to people with licenses that are respectable, hunting-type people and I think that’s where they should be going.”
Schemenauer doesn’t believe the amnesty program will catch criminals, but instead those who have unwittingly inherited firearms. Police have openly said that’s their main target.
Group also accepting firearms
The Canadian Coalition of Firearms Rights board chair Tracey Wilson said they are also accepting guns. A network of their team members will also come to homes and safely give guns a second life.
“Firearms that are turned into the amnesty are destroyed, which often eliminates that piece of history or robs that firearm of its chance of becoming useful and enjoyed again,” she explained, echoing that of Schemenauer.
“They could be literally destroying hundreds, if not thousands, of firearms that could be repurposed safely and legally and benefit the community by not having them still floating around out there.”
Wilson said she would support changes to legislation so that they could work with police on finding other ways to accommodate those with unwanted guns, sort of like a recycling program.
— With files from Sarah Mills