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Assault rifle seized

Police seized another assault rifle from a remote First Nations community Monday, but fear there are still more automatic weapons in homes across the North.
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Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service Sgt. Jackie George removes the high capacity magazine from an AK-47 assault rifle during a news conference Tuesday morning. NAPS officers have seized two prohibited assault rifles from remote First Nation communities this month. (Scott Paradis, tbnewswatch.com)

Police seized another assault rifle from a remote First Nations community Monday, but fear there are still more automatic weapons in homes across the North.

Officers with the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service’s guns and gangs, drug enforcement and canine units searched the Bearskin Lake home of a 57-year-old man on April 22. As a result of that search, police discovered a Ruko AK-47 assault rifle and two prohibited high capacity magazines.

“There is a concern over this type of firearm being in the communities,” said NAPS spokeswoman Sgt. Jackie George during a news conference at the police headquarters in Thunder Bay Tuesday.

Even more troubling is the possibility of these kinds of prohibited weapons ending up in “the wrong hands,” she added.

Prior to 1998, Canadians with a restricted firearms licence could legally own an AK-47. Today the rifle is classified as a prohibited weapon and there’s no way for someone to legally own one. Even if a now-prohibited AK-47 was purchased legitimately, police say citizens must turn their illegal guns in.

“A lot of these weapons are grandfathered, passed down through the generations and not being handed in (to police),” George said.

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This recent seizure is the second NAPS officers have made this month. Two AK-47 rifles were taken by police on April 6 in Summer Beaver First Nations and police seized prohibited assault rifles from Fort Severn about three years ago and from Fort Albany in April 2012.

“I can’t speculate as to who is handing these weapons down to whom and for what purpose, but we do know that there are other AK-47 weapons out there,” George said.

Residents in possession of prohibited firearms are being encouraged to contact Det.-Const. Blain Joyson of the NAPS guns and gangs unit at (807)-630-9759.

To learn more about what firearms are prohibited in Canada, or the various laws surrounding guns and gun ownership, visit the RCMP’s website.

“It would be much better if a person could call and find out if their firearms are prohibited than having the guns and gangs unit show up at your door with a warrant,” George added.



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