The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is participating in a firearms amnesty program running throughout the province in June.
The program invites the public to turn over potentially deadly weapons.
“It’s an opportunity for people who have inherited firearms, who aren’t comfortable with firearms or simply want to dispose of firearms safely to turn them over to the police,” said Const. Ian MacDonald.
He said the last amnesty program in 2006 resulted in more than 3,000 firearms being collected by law enforcement agencies across B.C.
MacDonald 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.
“We don’t’ want to be greeted at the door with any firearms, rifles, handguns etc. That will freak our officers out as well,” 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.
“This is voluntary. It’s a public service we’re offering.”