Vernon participates in gun amnesty

Vernon RCMP are participating in the BC Gun Amnesty program, which is taking place throughout the province during the month of June.

RCMP Spokesperson Gord Molendyk says the last gun amnesty program in British Columbia was very successful.

During the 2006 program, police took in an excess of 3200 guns, 505 handguns, and 725 other unwanted weapons. They also received 96,500 rounds of ammunition as well as a rocket launcher and a machine gun. 

Those wishing to turn in their firearms as part of the program are asked not to bring firearms into the RCMP detachment.

"Our people at the front counter and our members get a little nervous when people walk through the front door with a gun in hand," said Molendyk.

Molendyk says the best approach is for citizens to call the detachment and the RCMP will schedule an officer to pick up the items.

"Should you feel the need to bring it in, leave it in the trunk of your vehicle or [somewhere else] in your vehicle, and we will come out of the office to get it," said Molendyk.

Molendyk believes that many people choose to turn in unwanted guns simply because the younger generation is not as comfortable with the idea.

"As our population gets a little bit older, not everyone is as comfortable having guns in the house anymore. It's about safety," said Molendyk.

Others, he says, may have inherited guns from relatives who were in the military or served in past wars, and they simply don't want to go through the process to get licensed and register the guns appropriately.

The purpose of the program is to allow people to safely turn in unwanted, documented or undocumented firearms, weapons and ammunition that have not been used in a criminal offence, without facing weapons-related Criminal Code charges.

Molendyk warns that if a gun has been utilized to commit a crime and it can be traced back to that crime, there is no amnesty.

"If we can link it back, we will be knocking on your door and speaking to you about it," said Molendyk.

Molendyk says although some of the guns are sent to the lab in Vancouver for analysis or to test ammunition, the majority of those turned in are destroyed.

For further information on the BC Gun Amnesty, how to turn in weapons and types of weapons accepted under this amnesty, click here.

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