Henry's, the Toronto-based chain of specialty photo and video stores, launched Pixels for Pistols in Winnipeg at 11 a.m. local time. The campaign, run in partnership with the Winnipeg Police and Panasonic, offers cameras and gift cards for the retailer's School of Imaging to the public in return for unwanted firearms.
The endeavour got off to a quick start, Marketnews learned from company President & COO Ian Landy. "We took the two officers in charge of collection, Staff Sergeant John Boguski and Sergeant Geordie McKenzie, on tours of our three Winnipeg stores," Landy noted, "and they were all along getting updates, and by 1:30 p.m. there were 15 firearms in the queue to be picked up."
Pistols for Pixels offers a Panasonic FH8 digital point & shoot camera, plus a gift card for Henry's School of Imaging in exchange for any working firearm. The value of the package is $240 retail. For any non-operative firearm, or replica firearm, a $75 gift card for the School of Imaging will be given. Henry's and Panasonic are responsible for supplying the advertising, cameras, and gift cards, while the Winnipeg Police are responsible for collecting and disposing of the guns. The program runs until the end of November, and is limited to Winnipeg residents.
This is the third Pixels for Pistols campaign mounted by Henry's. The first was in Toronto in 2008, and was prompted by an armed robbery at a Henry's store. The Toronto Police Service collected nearly 1,900 firearms, over 300 replicas, 58,000 rounds of ammunition, and almost 1,500 boxes of ammunition. Next year, the company ran the campaign successfully in Halifax.
While people who surrender firearms in exchange for cameras or gift cards will be forgiven any registration or other administrative infractions, the police will test each firearm to ascertain if it can be linked to a crime. "We're not Pollyannas," Landy insisted. "Criminals are not going to contact the Winnipeg police and say, 'Hey, take my gun and give me a digital camera.'"
The program, he added, is intended to remove access to unused firearms inherited from relatives whether they were ex-service personnel, hunters, or target shooters. "They may not know what to do with it," he mused, "and here's a wonderful opportunity that can make a meaningful contribution to the future safety of Winnipeg."
Landy noted that many crimes have been committed with legal firearms. He cited former Ontario attorney general Roy McMurtry, who stated during Henry's original Pixels for Pistols campaign in 2008 that 30 per cent of firearms used in crime had been stolen from law-abiding citizens.
Citizens are asked not to take their firearms, replicas, and ammo to police stations or Henry's stores. They are asked to contact the Winnipeg Police Service at (204) 986-6222, to arrange for pickup.