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Toronto Toronto police collect more than 2,700 firearms in buyback program aimed at reducing gun violence

The Toronto Police Service says more than 2,700 firearms were turned in by city residents as part of a buyback program aimed at reducing gun violence.

The three-week initiative saw police collect more than 1,900 long guns and more than 800 handguns for destruction in what police say is the largest haul yet for such a program in Toronto.

Chief Mark Saunders says the force is pleased with the uptake and that taking the guns out of circulation contributes to community safety.

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Mayor John Tory, who has advocated for a handgun ban in the city, says the buyback program is just one of numerous measures needed to reduce gun violence.

Toronto set a record of 96 homicides last year, including a 30-per-cent jump in homicides by shooting from 2017.

Under the buyback program, Torontonians were paid $200 for turning over a long gun and $350 for a handgun, once police determined they hadn’t been used in a crime. Police said those who turn over the weapons would not face charges for possession or unsafely storing a firearm.

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