The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is participating in a gun amnesty program running at police agencies throughout the province in October.
The program invites the public to turn over potentially deadly weapons, eliminating the risk of them falling into the hands of criminals or being part of a tragic circumstance, police say.
APD Const. Ian MacDonald said that during the last gun amnesty in 2013, 24 firearms were turned over to the APD.
A total of 109 were turned over during the one before that – in 2006 – and MacDonald said the high number was due to forthcoming changes that required all firearms to be registered.
He said anyone who wants to turn over weapons must follow some crucial guidelines.
They must first phone the APD’s non-emergency line (604-859-5225) to report that they have weapons or ammunition they want to turn in.
They are advised not to transport the items in their vehicle or to bring them to the front counter of the APD, which could alarm staff or members of the public who spot the weapons.
MacDonald said that when an officer arrives at the residence, the weapons and/or ammunition should be left where they are, so as not to alarm the officers doing the pickup.
“It’s not as helpful as it seems (to bring the guns to the door),” he said.
MacDonald said the APD offers this service on a less formal basis throughout the year.
He cited an example in 2011 of an M72 rocket launcher that was turned over by a family whose loved one had died. The man had been a collector of guns and military memorabilia, and the family also turned over his gun collection.
The rocket launcher was turned over to the Canadian military.
MacDonald said the firearms amnesty program is all about public safety.