The first day of a three-week gun amnesty declared here saw 38 firearms surrendered to police yesterday.
Describing the 20 calls by residents on opening day as “a huge success,” Guns and Gangs Unit Staff Sgt. Mike Callaghan said the Ottawa Police Gun Amnesty Program would help to reduce gun crimes by taking more firearms off city streets.
“I think it will have an impact on the use of firearms in criminal activity,” he said.
“As for how much, we don’t know yet.”
Many firearms used in gun crimes originate from break and enters, police say. Every firearm turned in by residents is one less that can fall into criminal hands.
Police on the first day received requests to pick up more than three dozen long-barrel guns, shotguns, handguns, ammunition and even bayonet knives, said Callaghan.
“We wanted to provide an avenue to dispose of unwanted firearms safely,” he said.
Most of the guns are from people who no longer have a use for firearms, Callaghan said.
“They’re not in a gun club anymore or they’re elderly people who are no longer hunting or they’re from an estate.
“These are all reasons that people dispose of firearms.”
Then there are people who are concerned about crime in the city.
“I was speaking with one lady today who was concerned about her house being broken into and guns being used in criminal activity,” he said.
“We want to make sure unwanted guns aren’t used in a criminal act.”
The last time police held a citywide amnesty in January 2006, 737 firearms were turned into police, including 491 rifles and shotguns, and 163 handguns.