Winnipeg residents are responding to the Winnipeg police/Henry’s gun amnesty program.
In the first five days of the Pixels for Pistols campaign, police say they have recovered 258 firearms, smashing the total recovered in a 30-day 2010 amnesty program.
"So far, it’s been a great success," WPS spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said. "We’re getting a lot of guns off the street.
"Every day, more and more guns are being surrendered to police."
The gun amnesty program is the initiative of Toronto-based photography equipment retailer Henry’s, which is offering Winnipeg residents gifts certificates for a point-and-shoot-camera and lessons in exchange for every working firearm and ammunition that is turned in to police during the month of November.
Winnipeg Police are handling the collection of the weapons. The returns are being done with the promise that no charges will be brought against anyone who turns in a firearm or ammunition.
A similar gun amnesty in 2010, which was a province-wide program without any incentives, saw 192 firearms turned in to Winnipeg police during a 30-day period.
Michalyshen said 38 firearms were recovered on the program’s first day, Nov. 1, and residents continued to call throughout the weekend.
"We want to keep this momentum going," Michalyshen said.
Most of the firearms being turned in are long guns, he said, with some hand guns.
Michalyshen said the turned-in firearms will be destroyed.
Michalyshen said some of the callers had inherited firearms from friends and relatives and they didn’t know what to do with them, and others were former hunters no longer active in the sport.
"These weapons are just sitting, not being used and this program is just a great opportunity," Michalyshen said.
"This is about ensuring that firearms that are no longer needed or required, for whatever reason, we are that outlet for them to surrender to us."
The exchange is open only to Winnipeg residents, who should contact police at 204-986-6222 to arrange the pick-up of firearms. The firearms are not to be brought to police or a Henry’s retail outlet.