With gun crimes on the rise, Regina begins 2-week firearms amnesty
Exchange open for any type of gun, ammunition, explosive device, replica gun
To combat a rise in gun crimes, Regina police are asking the public to turn in their unwanted firearms.
From Feb. 1-15, people can turn in their guns to police and in exchange they will receive their choice of a one-month transit or leisure pass.
"It's no secret that firearms are a problem in our community," said police Chief Evan Bray.
"They have been for a few years but we saw an escalation in that last year."
Gun crimes have skyrocketed in the city over the past 12 months, according to police statistics.
- 141 violent offences involving guns: 94-per-cent increase over the five-year average.
- 343 guns were seized last year: 31-per-cent increase over the five-year average.
- 55 firearms reported stolen in 2016: 20 more than in 2015.
- 42 victims of firearm offences: up 163 per cent.
"People have said, 'Well, you're not really going to get criminals to turn in firearms.' I hope we do," Bray said.
"We will be getting citizens to turn in firearms who don't want them on a voluntary basis, [to] make sure it takes away the opportunity to fall into the wrong hands."
Bray said the amnesty exchange is for any type of gun, ammunition, explosive device and replica gun.
Police do not want people coming to the station to drop off guns. Instead they are asked to call 306-777-6500 and officers will come pick them up.
Charges for unauthorized possession will not be pursued.
Bray said that could lead to owners who don't have registered guns to register them legally.
"Our goal is to enhance responsible ownership, storage and safety and to take unwanted guns off the streets."
Guns will be checked by police to see if they are involved in ongoing investigations. If that is the case, police will follow up.
The guns will then be destroyed.