In a move to tack gun violence in the city, a Toronto Police gun buy-back program successfully got almost 3000 guns off city streets. The program lasted for three weeks and ended yesterday, on May 17. In that time, Toronto Police say they were able to collect over 2700 guns.
As an incentive for people to turn in their firearms, the Toronto Police were offering $200 for a long gun and $350 for a handgun. That means this program cost anywhere from $540,000 to $945,000, if not more, depending on the types of guns surrendered.
The money came from the City of Toronto who showed their full support for the program. According to CityNews, Mayor John Tory, who has been actively trying to tackle gun violence in Toronto, said: "every gun surrendered is one less gun in our community and one less gun potentially available to people who want to cause problems in our city."
Now that the police have collected over 2700 guns, they have to spend time investigating each and every one to ensure it wasn't related to any criminal activity or used in a shooting. Once their investigation is complete all of the guns collected through this buy-back program will be destroyed by police.
This isn't the first time Toronto Police have held a gun buy-back, but it is the first one in over 10 years. The last police gun buy-back in Toronto was held in 2008. Back then, around 2000 guns were taken off the streets by police.
Now, more than 10 years later, the program has proven to be even more successful.
Despite the success in taking almost 3000 guns off the streets, the program has drawn criticism from Torontonians. Over the past few weeks, many have called the buy-back program useless and have said it won't actually take guns away from gangs or other criminals.
Nonetheless, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told CityNews that removing any guns from Toronto is a plus. "These guns can present a potential danger if they fall into the wrong hands. Removing access to these guns, many of which are not securely stored, contributes to community safety."
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.