A recent Ottawa Police gun amnesty pulled in a large variety of rifles, shotguns and handguns — the majority unregistered and some so rare that firearms unit members had never seen them before.
A three-week amnesty, which wrapped up Friday, collected 365 guns, including an “infamous” AK-47 shotgun designed to penetrate metal and bulletproof vests and a collection of a dozen rare Steyr Augs — Swiss-made military rifles — worth $20,000.
“They’re very expensive and very unique,” said Staff Sgt. Mike Callaghan, who was in charge of the gun amnesty program. “Some of the officers from the firearms section had never seen this type of weapon turned in during an amnesty.”
Ottawa residents turned in 301 rifles and shotguns, 64 handguns and 140 boxes of ammunition, numbers Callaghan called “considerable.”
Callaghan — who held a media “show and tell” yesterday of some of the weapons collected — picked up a Browning handgun purchased in Florida.
“Some of them are of concern to us because of their killing power and because they can be so easily concealed,” said Callaghan.
Others were familiar; Callaghan pointed out a Colt 38 Special — a handgun like the one he was issued when he first joined the police force back in 1985.
He picked up a Steyr Aug. “To keep something like this, you have to be a bonafide firearms collector,” he said. Callaghan said that to his knowledge, there are only five collectors authorized to have weapons like the AK-47 in Canada. “Sixty per cent of all weapons turned in were not registered in any shape or form in Canada,” Callaghan said.
Although police had asked residents to phone and have the weapons collected, there was one incident where two men were walking down Catherine Street towards the police station with two shotguns in hand, said Callaghan.
Police also picked up 18 handguns and ammunition — all improperly stored in the basement — from an elderly woman.
The weapons that meet the integrated ballistic identification system will be tested for criminal involvement. All others will be destroyed in an undisclosed location.
Although the last gun amnesty in 2006 collected 737 weapons, police are still “very pleased with the number turned in,” said Callaghan, who recommends that police run a gun amnesty every two years.