Nova Scotia

Halifax Fares for Firearms gun amnesty program nets 152 guns

Halifax is declaring its latest gun amnesty campaign a success after the two-week program saw 152 guns turned over to police for safe disposal.

A previous HRM campaign, Pixels for Pistols, saw 1,074 guns turned in to police

Halifax-area residents turned in 152 guns to police through the Fares for Firearms gun amnesty program. (Stephen Puddicombe/CBC)

Halifax is declaring its latest gun amnesty campaign a success after the two-week program saw 152 guns turned over to police for safe disposal. 

Through the Fares for Firearm program, people were given 50 bus tickets — a $100 value — in exchange for their unwanted guns.

"I believe that with these weapons off the streets, it certainly increases the safety at large for the Halifax Regional Municipality," said Ted Upshaw, a public safety advisor with the city.

Out of the 152 guns turned in to police, 123 were long guns or rifles, 18 were handguns and 11 were pellet guns.

In total, 128 bus ticket incentives were donated by Halifax Transit. The original offer of $5,000 worth of tickets had to be increased to $12,800 to provide enough for every residents who wanted to participate.

HRM homicides

The proposal for the firearm amnesty program came after a number of shooting deaths in the Halifax area this spring. To date, there have been nine homicides in the Halifax Regional Municipality in 2016, and at least five of those involved firearms.

Admittedly, RCMP Insp. Jeffrey Dowling said the guns turned in through the program are not coming from criminals, but every gun removed from the streets help make the region safer.

"I don't think a criminal would voluntarily hand over their weapon. In this case what we've got is unwanted firearms in people's residences," he said. "But by handing them in, it decreases the chance they would be stolen by a criminal and used in a crime."

Pixels for Pistols

The overall objective of the campaign was to raise awareness that residents can turn guns over to police at any time of year. According to Halifax Regional Police Staff Sgt. Scott MacDonald, just under 200 guns were voluntarily handed over to police in 2015. 

Halifax's last gun amnesty program was held back in 2009. Pixels for Pistols, which allowed residents to trade in guns for digital cameras, saw 1,074 firearms and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition turned in to police.

With files from Stephen Puddicombe