By Dan Walton
The month of June is offering residents of B.C. a chance to clean the skeletons out of their closet. Anybody who happens to be in possession of an illegal weapon or firearm, or even a legal one thats collecting dust, the RCMP will be retrieving unwanted weapons and ammunition no questions asked.
This months amnesty is the first held in the province since 2006.
It all comes down to gun control knowing who has what, said Columbia Valley RCMP Corporal
As an example, Cpl. Simpson was asked if the surrender of an AK-47 or rocket launcher would warrant no questions.
Thats what they (the regulations) say, he replied.
As the RCMP intends to reduce the amount of potential danger hiding throughout the province, so long as the unwanted weapon has not been used in an unresolved crime, no repercussions will follow. Once it has been determined that a weapon was not used in a crime, each armament will be destroyed near its local detachment. Weapons with historical significance, or ones that can be salvaged for parts, can be sold or donated to a licensed firearm business.
Invermeres High Country Auctions owner Tex Lortscher is not a registered firearm owner, but says he always accepts old, unwanted firearms as long as they dont require registration. Unwanted weapons can be sold to legitimate collectors of restricted weapons online. Popular Canadian websites include www.firearmscanada.com and www.gunaddicts.com.
During the amnesty, the RCMP can be contacted to arrange a time for them to retrieve an armament, rather than have the owner transport it. While philosophies among police officers differ as to the delivery of an unwanted weapon, the issue is black and white for Cpl. Simpson.
From my perspective, contact the RCMP to come pick up your unwanted weapon under all circumstances. Thats my take on it. We dont want someone coming into the office with a firearm in hand, he said. That was very problematic back in 2006. It made a lot of people very nervous especially the girls at the front counter.
While many officers prefer all weapons to be picked up rather than dropped off during Junes amnesty, restricted and prohibited firearms cannot travel without an authorization to transport, which requires the successful completion of an application to the RCMP.
Though there were no specific incidents to prompt this years amnesty, the public campaign seems to be attracting more attention.
I dont recall the amnesty being as big in 2006 as it is this year, Cpl. Simpson said.