If you had a gun, would you trade it in for 50 bus tickets? That’s part of aproposed amnesty program Halifax regional council will consider Tuesday. The proposal comes following gun violence in the Halifax area this past spring. There have been nine homicides in HRM in 2016 so far — at least five of those killings involved guns.
How it would work
The report said the program would run for two weeks — between Sept. 12 and Sept. 23 — and it would give people the chance to hand over guns and/or ammunition to police without fear of being charged for possession of an unrestricted, restricted or prohibited firearm.
However, the report says police will check all the guns that are turned over to them. If a gun is linked to a crime, there could be charges.
Advantage of program
The report stated that while gun amnesty programs don’t directly decrease violence, they do have advantages. For example, any gun turned over to police can’t be be stolen and used to commit a crime.
According to the report, Halifax Transit is willing to provide the bus tickets if the program moves forward. The municipality could also seek out other companies willing to donate goods or services as part of the amnesty program.
The municipality had a similar gun amnesty program in 2009 where guns could be traded in for a digital camera and gift card. In that instance police reported 1,074 guns and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition were turned in during that initiative.