Gun amnesty takes aim at unwanted weapons

Residents can turn in firearms until the end of October without the risk of fines

Saanich Police Const. Damien Kowalewich with two of the weapons picked up by Saanich Police during the gun amnesty

Saanich Police Const. Damien Kowalewich with two of the weapons picked up by Saanich Police during the gun amnesty

If you’ve been wondering what to do with grandpa’s old 12-gauge that’s been gathering dust in the back of the closet for a couple of years, Saanich Police will be glad to take it off your hands.

A provincewide firearms amnesty in effect for October has yielded about 10 weapons so far, said Saanich Police Const. Damien Kowalewich.

The amnesty eliminates the risk of fines that may have applied for people looking to get rid of firearms, weapons, prohibited devices, imitations, replicas and ammunition.

“What we see with these amnesty programs is typically weapons  that aren’t being used that are sitting in a closest or a case,” he explained. “Any time you can get weapons off the street, it’s a good thing.”

Saanich led the region in the number of weapons picked up during the last amnesty in 2013. That yielded 22 rifles, 12 shotguns, 13 handguns, one replica gun, 13 pellet guns, 2,082 rounds of ammunition and three flares.

“It’s a good way for people to get rid of these kinds of items,” said Kowalewich. “Often they’re bequeathed or passed along to people who don’t want them and don’t know what to do with them. The public is always welcome to call us in those cases.”

Immunity from prosecution does not apply to anyone who has been detained or arrested by the police who was found to be in possession of a firearm, weapon, prohibited device or prohibited ammunition.

Immunity from prosecution is also not applicable if it is determined that the weapon voluntarily surrendered has been used for criminal purposes.

If you would like to take advantage of the amnesty before the end of the month, call the Saanich Police at 250-475-4321 to make arrangements for an officer to attend your residence and pick up the weapon or ammunition. Have a basic description of the items you are surrendering available when you call.

Do not bring weapons, replicas, imitations or ammunition to the police station.