Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cameras for firearms

Police, Henry's partner up for gun amnesty

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You will be able to point and shoot pictures instead of bullets if you turn in any working firearm during November.

Dubbed Pixels for Pistols, the 30-day initiative is a partnership with Winnipeg police, photo retailer Henry's and Panasonic.

"I'm so excited and so proud," of the exchange program, Ian Landy, president of Henry's, said. "What better way to give back to the community than offering a gun-exchange program."

Any Winnipeg resident who turns in a working firearm during November will receive a gift card for a digital Panasonic point-and-shoot camera from Henry's worth $240.

Gift cards of smaller value will also be given for inoperable firearms, ammunition and other ballistics considered worthy by police.

"As a community, it is important that we work together to ensure the safety of our citizens," acting police Chief Devon Clunis said. "This initiative is a practical way for citizens to help police keep guns out of the hands of criminals, making Winnipeg a safer community."

Landy said the program is aimed at getting old and unused weapons out of people's basements, adding former Ontario attorney general Roy McMurtry said at the 2008 event in Toronto that 30 per cent of firearms used in crime had been stolen from law-abiding citizens.

"We're not Pollyannas, we don't believe criminals are going to contact the Winnipeg police and say, 'Hey, take my gun and give me a digital camera.' "

Landy said the program is aimed at individuals who have firearms that used to belong to a grandparent, or a relative who had a service weapon left over from an armed conflict or a hunting rifle no one is using.

"To be honest, they may not know what to do with it and here's a wonderful opportunity that can make a meaningful contribution to the future safety of Winnipeg."

Landy said he hopes this will turn into the most successful gun exchange in the city's history.

The idea for the firearm exchange originated in 2008 when a Henry's store in Toronto was robbed by a gun-wielding man.

Landy said he realized Henry's could make a lasting gift to Toronto by financing a firearm exchange, which turned out to be Toronto's most successful. The Toronto Police Service received almost 1,900 firearms, more than 300 replica firearms, 58,000 rounds of ammunition and almost 1,500 boxes of ammunition.

A similar exchange was conducted in Halifax in 2009 and it resulted in the most successful campaign in that city's history.

"We don't have a target for Winnipeg," Landy said. "We just hope we can do better than has been done here in the past."

Landy said Henry's and Panasonic are picking up the cost of the cameras, gift cards and advertising. The police service is responsible for collecting and storing the turned-in firearms and ammunition.

A spokesman said the police service doesn't expect to incur any additional costs because of the exchange.

This is the first time police have partnered with a private business in a gun-exchange program. The police service has been involved in four provincewide amnesty programs that date back to 1994.

Landy said Winnipeg was chosen for Henry's third firearm exchange to thank residents for embracing its three retail outlets. "What better way than to take this program to the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police Service," Landy said.

Landy said Henry's approached the police service about the offer.

Pixels for Pistols

Turn in any working firearm (real or replica) in November to the Winnipeg Police Service and you will receive a Henry's gift card redeemable for a Panasonic Lumix digital point-and-shoot camera.

Turn in ammunition or an inoperable firearm and receive a Henry's School of Imaging gift card.

Individuals who surrender firearms under the exchange will not be subject to criminal firearm possession charges.

The exchange period is from today to Friday, Nov. 30.

Exchange is open only to Winnipeg residents.

Firearms cannot be taken to any Winnipeg police facility.

Firearms cannot be taken for exchange to Henry's locations.

To arrange for a firearm exchange, contact Winnipeg police at 204-986-6222.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 1, 2012 A3

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