Michele Henry, Toronto Star
September 27, 2008
Police hope Nikons, photography lessons entice firearm owners
Instead of a gun why not pick up a camera?
Toronto police are hoping that gun owners, whether lawful or not, will consider clicking a button instead of pulling a trigger come Oct. 22, when they will be given the option of trading in their firearms for a digital point-and-shoot.
Called Pixels for Pistols, this gun amnesty program is aiming to make weapons less accessible to the criminal element, by making a gun exchange more palatable to the general public.
“We want to eliminate that chance for criminals to get their hands on weapons,” Toronto police Community Mobilization Sgt. Chris Body, said. “Any gun in someone’s home carries the potential for it to be stolen and wind up in the hands of criminals.” [Only if you go around bragging about it. -Ed.]
Starting late next month, willing gun owners will be eligible for one of two prizes from Henry’s camera stores. Turn in a handgun or assault rifle — get a Nikon Coolpix S52 with a $400 value.
Hand over a shotgun or a tamer rifle — get a Nikon Coolpix P60 worth approximately $250.
And they both come with a gift certificate for free photography lessons.
“We’re not giving away junk,” said Max Payne of Henry’s.
During the last amnesty in 2005, police rounded up 260 guns. In 2000, the year the gun registry came into effect, they pulled in 1,800 weapons, including all manner of pistols, rifles and shotguns.
During an amnesty, police travel to the homes of gun owners who have called in, to pick up the weapons.
Not an anonymous process, the guns are then sent for ballistics testing and if it turns out they have been used in a crime, police conduct a follow-up investigation.
When officers drop by to pick up the weapons, they’ll decide on the spot what kind of prize is warranted — and hand over a gift certificate that participants can redeem at Henry’s.
But, says Payne, it’s important participants pay attention to protocol.
“Don’t bring a gun to Henry’s,” he says. “We’re stressing that. There are steps you need to take.”
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