Toronto police announced they had received 485 guns and 22,000 rounds of ammunition during the Pixels for Pistols campaign, an initiative that allows gun owners to turn in their weapons and bullets in exchange for a free digital camera.
“It makes the City of Toronto a safer place,” Chief Bill Blair said at police headquarters on Friday.
“It also gives the public an opportunity to receive something of value for turning in their firearm.”
The program, sponsored by Henry’s Camera and Olympus, was launched on June 3 and was scheduled to end after two weeks. Instead, police extended the deadline to July 5.
For police, it’s a chance to get guns off the streets. For gun owners, it’s a chance surrender their weapons without facing criminal firearm possession charges — with some exceptions.
Police warn that the amnesty only provides limited immunity to certain possession offences and it does not include amnesty on any other offences that may be connected to a particular firearm or individual. Firearms suspected as crime guns will be investigated thoroughly, police said.
“The firearms that you see before you today, these are not firearms we have taken from criminals,” Blair said.
“We are still very active in taking criminal guns off the street…but the guns we receive in this program are from decent, law-abiding Canadians who chose to turn their firearms in for disposal to keep their houses and communities safe.”
Pixels for Pistols was first held in Toronto in 2008. Camera store and program sponsor Henry’s has since launched similar campaigns in Halifax and Winnipeg.
Watch the news conference below: