Guns for bus tickets: Halifax regional council to debate firearm buyback program
The two week long program would allow people to trade any firearms or ammunition to the municipality in exchange for 50 Halifax Transit tickets.
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Halifax regional council will consider a new gun buyback program at its meeting on Tuesday, but one councillor isn’t sure the program provides enough incentive.
The “Gun Amnesty Program,” recommended in a staff report headed to council for debate, would allow people to trade any firearms or ammunition to the municipality in exchange for 50 Halifax Transit tickets.
“I don’t think the bus tickets are an incentive one way or the other, to be honest,” said Coun. Steve Craig.
“Those people who have a criminal intent, or want to either deal in firearms, or want to use firearms… I think a bus ticket’s not going to mean anything to them.”
Craig also said that if even one person does find the tickets to be enough incentive, then it would be worth it, and it’s a good way to raise awareness.
The staff report says programs like these “do not directly decrease violence,” but they do provide a platform to raise awareness of gun violence, and any gun turned in is one that can’t be stolen and used in a shooting.
People handing over the guns would be able to do so “without the fear of being charged for possession of an unrestricted, restricted or prohibited firearm,” but police will be checking all the guns, and investigating if any “were found to be implicated in any kind of prior criminal activity.”
The program would cost about $5,000, depending on how many people turn in guns.
In 2009, a similar program called Pixels for Pistols – in which people who brought in guns received a camera in exchange – netted more than 1,000 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.
The new program stems from meetings between Mayor Mike Savage, Halifax Regional Police and RCMP leaders, and members of the public after “a spate of gun violence earlier this spring in HRM involving the deaths of four young men.”