Almost 550 firearms turned in for cameras: police
With 11 days to go, the Toronto Police Service says its "pixels for pistols" program has resulted people turning in 549 firearms and more than 13,000 rounds of ammunition.
The program, operated in conjunction with Henry's camera stores, allows people to surrender an unwanted firearm and receive a digital camera and photography lessons in return.
"They need not fear if the weapon is not registered properly. This is an amnesty. They can be assured that the weapon will be destroyed safely," the police said Wednesday in a news release.
On Tuesday, one gun owner turned in 20 handguns to officers at 54 Division, which covers most of old East York north of the Danforth.
"The program is being received very well. We're getting a lot of guns turned in," Staff Sgt. Stan Ellis told reporters.
The program is primarily thought to appeal to gun owners who have firearms they no longer want but who don't know how to get rid of them -- or who fear that because the weapon isn't registered properly, they will get in trouble if they try.
Toronto police have said that about 30 per cent of the firearms used in gun crimes here originated with legitimate owners, with the rest being smuggled in from the United States.
Police urge those holding on to their guns to follow the rules and make sure their weapons are secured against theft.
Those who do wish to surrender weapons are asked to contact police at 416-808-2222 to arrange for a pickup by an officer.
People are not to bring their unwanted firearms directly to a Henry's store or the police. The offer only extends to residents of Toronto and ends on Nov. 23.
There is this fine print: "Although this amnesty provides limited immunity to certain possession offences it does not include any other offences that may be connected to a particular firearm or individual. Firearms suspected as crime guns will be investigated thoroughly including Centre of Forensic Sciences ballistics testing, serial number restoration if obliterated and a trace of the origin of the firearm will be conducted."
Toronto has tried gun amnesties before. In 2000, one collected more than 1,500 weapons. In 2005, another 261 were taken off the streets.