The latest gun amnesty by Toronto police yielded more than 3,000 firearms, making it the most successful in the service’s history.
Guns laid on display at TPS headquarters on Thursday included an Uzi submachine gun, an Ingram MAC-10 submachine gun, three semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifles, a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a number of semi-automatic handguns in differing states of repair.
Saunders said officers are about half-way through verifying all of the guns seized and seeing whether any were used in any unsolved crimes.
Long guns, including two AR-15 assault rifles and an SKS rifle, are shown in Toronto Police Headquarters on June 20, 2019. (TPS)
Police said 2,200 long guns and 900 handguns were seized during the buyback, which ended on May 17.
“What we heard when we got to the doors is that many people had no use for them anymore or had inherited them and had no idea how to get rid of them,” Saunders said.
He said the buyback was part of a wider plan to reduce the number of guns that could fall into the hands of criminals through break-ins or illicit sale.
“We had police officers attend about 1,000 addresses throughout the city to retrieve these firearms,” Insp. Chris Boddy said.
Boddy said that a number of people also handed in air rifles during the buyback, despite knowing they would not receive any money in exchange.
“Even though they knew they weren’t going to get compensation, parents and grandparents recognized that they can be dangerous, fall into the wrong hands and can also be used in criminality,” Boddy said.
He added that others called in to hand in unwanted ammunition that they had in their homes.
Saunders said the fact that officers brought in nearly 1,000 handguns, some of them with illegally short barrels, easily concealed in a pocket or purse, meant the buyback did positively impact public safety.
“Some of these guns were designed primarily for a criminal use,” he said. “When we have a sawed-off shotgun, when we have two Uzis sitting at the table, when we have those types of weapons, firearms with serial numbers removed, these are guns for criminal purposes.”
Ninety per cent of the shooting occurrences in Toronto involve handguns.
The city will spend $750,000 verifying and destroying the guns, and also paying former owners $200 per rifle or shotgun and $350 per handgun.
Saunders said the compensation will be doled out in the coming weeks.
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com