Ottawa police are encouraging gun owners to turn in their weapons in exchange for a digital camera as part of a new amnesty program.

Pixels for Pistols

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau, left, and Ottawa Police Services Board chairman Eli El-Chantiry, right, helped unveil a two-week program encouraging legal guns be exchanged for digital cameras. (Kristy Kirkup/CBC)

Police chief Charles Bordeleau unveiled the program, called "Pixels for Pistols," Friday morning at the Ottawa police station. It is sponsored by Olympus and the Henry's camera store.

Bordeleau said the amnesty requires gun owners must make an appointment with police, then an officer would make a house call for pick-up.

Here is a detailed description of how the program works:

  • The amnesty is open to residents of Ottawa only.
  • Firearm pickups will be done by officers dedicated exclusively to the amnesty.
  • Firearms cannot be brought into any police facility or Henry’s location.
  • Residents wishing to surrender a firearm can call police at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300 or by emailing
  • Once the firearms are tested to ensure they are not crime guns, a voucher for an Olympus VG-160 digital camera and a Henry’s School of Imaging Course will be sent by registered mail to the individual who turned in the gun (within four to six weeks).
    'We don't want someone standing on their front porch with a gun waiting for an officer to come.' - Staff Sgt. Mark Patterson, Ottawa police guns and gangs unit
  • Compensation will only be provided for operational firearms, but police will accept ammunition, pellet, air and replica firearms for safe disposal.
  • The amnesty provides limited immunity to certain possession offences and does not include any other offences that may be connected to a particular firearm or individual.

The program runs from Oct. 7 to 20 with 12 officers making house calls. 

"The officers are going to be paired up," said Staff Sgt. Mark Patterson of the guns and gangs unit. 

"We want to make sure the precautions are there. If you're going to partake in this program, we are telling you to keep your guns secured. We don't want someone standing on their front porch with a gun waiting for an officer to come." 

Bordeleau said similar programs have been successful in Toronto, Halifax and Winnipeg. He also said Ottawa's last gun amnesty program, held in 2008, brought in more than 300 guns.