RCMP offering weapon amnesty

Penticton residents can contact police to pick up unwanted firearms and weapons to be disposed of safely

Through the month of June, RCMP are offering assistance to South Okanagan residents wanting to safely dispose of unwanted, documented or undocumented firearms and weapons.

“We know there are guns, weapons and ammunition out there and people have had them over the years and don’t know what to do with them,” said Penticton RCMP Sgt. Rick Dellebuur. “What this amnesty does is it allows them an opportunity to dispose of these weapons and eliminate any risk unwanted firearms and weapons pose.”

Until June 30, residents can contact RCMP to have the weapons, that have not been used in a criminal offence, picked up to be disposed of without facing weapons-related Criminal Code charges. Dellebuur said throughout the years he has seen residents contact them to dispose of old rifles and pistols. Quite often, he said, people come into possession of the items when a relative has died and the family has hung onto the firearm.

“The family may have had it for years and doesn’t really know what to do with them. There is lots of red tape attached to owning firearms and this allows them to dispose of it in a safe manner,” said Dellebuur. “We also can assist them if someone is interested in purchasing the weapon with the necessary paperwork and forms in a timely fashion.”

The last gun amnesty was held in 2006. Dellebuur said at that time there were 3,200 guns returned to police detachments across the province. Included in that cache were 505 handguns, 96,500 rounds of ammunition, a rocket launcher and a machine gun. He said the amnesty reduces the chance that these unwanted weapons end up on the streets.

“All police departments have a common goal of keeping our communities safe,” said Insp. Brad Haugli, president of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police. “The BCACP is fully supportive of this gun amnesty program to do just that. Removing guns from homes will prevent them from falling into the hands of criminals and from accidentally hurting innocent people.”

Anyone who possesses registered or unregistered guns, ammunition and weapons, even imitation and pellet weapons, pepper spray and knives are being asked to phone the Penticton RCMP non-emergency line at 250-492-4300. The operator will ask information about the firearms and ammunition in your possession including make, model, serial number and calibre which usually is marked on the firearm itself. RCMP will come to your house to receive the weapon and residents are advised not to transport the weapons themselves to the police detachment for security reasons. Most of the firearms across the province will be destroyed, while a small number may be kept for training purposes.