Regina police criticized for destroying 157 guns

The Regina Police Service has posted videos of dozens of guns being destroyed, but not everybody is applauding the initiative.

'We're doing our jobs,' counters police spokesperson

This bucketload of guns turned in to the Regina Police Service was dumped into a furnace. (Regina Police Service)

The Regina Police Service has posted videos of dozens of guns being destroyed, but not everybody is applauding the initiative.

The police service collected 157 firearms from the public during an amnesty that ran Feb. 1-15.

The program was introduced amid rising rates of gun crime in the city, as well as concerns that guns stolen from residences and vehicles could be fuelling the problem.

After the guns were collected, they were dropped into a furnace where they were incinerated or melted down.

People commenting on the police service's Facebook page appear split on whether destroying the guns was the right decision, with the majority criticizing the move and a somewhat smaller group in favour.

The critics included gun owners who said it would have been better to auction the guns off or take them to dealers to sell.

"I know we need to take all the guns 'off the streets' we can, but I hate to see perfectly good weapons destroyed when other shops in the city are still selling them," Phil Blacker said in a comment. 

"Could they not be sold to dealers to be recycled by hunters and collectors? It seems such a waste to destroy the legal weapons."

During the gun amnesty, Regina police received 81 rifles, 30 shotguns, 25 restricted or prohibited guns, and 21 pellet, air or starter pistols. (Regina Police Service)

A spokesperson for the police said there are no policies in place that would allow the service to keep or sell the guns.

If any of the firearms had any historical value or significance, then they could be submitted to a museum. 

Three of the firearms were sent to an RCMP library in Ottawa. One of the guns is considered an antique, which could have a home in a Saskatchewan museum. 

"For as many who criticize, there are more who approve," the spokesperson said. "It doesn't hurt our feelings; we're doing our jobs."

The Regina police took the guns to a scrap metal melt shop. It posted photos and videos to its Facebook page. (Regina Police Service)

On Facebook, Lisa R. Quinton said police did the right thing.

"Isn't all that matters here is that they got guns and weapons off the streets?" Quinton said in a comment. "Why should we even care otherwise! And I'm sure that is nowhere near what is still out there."

It took more than one load to get all the guns into the furnace. (Regina Police Service)

People who brought in guns received their choice of a one-month transit or leisure pass.

Police said all the firearms that were surrendered were checked to make sure they weren't involved in criminal files. 

With files from Adam Hunter