A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing by the Canada Border Service Agency in 2014. (Black Press files)

B.C. government calls for better gun control

Stolen, legally sold and imitation weapons used by criminals

The B.C. government is calling for better tracking of legal gun sales and a ban on selling imitation firearms to people aged 18 or younger.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth released a task force report on illegal gun use Monday at the B.C. legislature. It warns of “straw purchasers” of guns from legitimate retailers who then sell them to criminal gangs for use in the drug trade and other crimes.

Jim Gresham, the RCMP’s assistant commissioner and gang expert for B.C., said imitation handguns are a bigger problem than the usual incidents reported by media, when a young person shows a gun and police have to respond as if it is real. Criminals released from jail are prohibited from owning weapons, so they buy a realistic imitation to stick in their belt for effect when making a drug deal, Gresham said.

Farnworth said he prefers a national approach to restricting sale of imitation guns, but action is needed.

“Right now it’s legal to take one to school,” Farnworth said.

He noted that while many steal illegal firearms are smuggled in from the U.S., many more are stolen or purchased and then resold.

In 2015, there were more than 2,000 incidents involving the criminal use of firearms in B.C., and more than 3,000 guns were seized by police that year alone. Crimes included homicide, attempted homicide, robbery assault, uttering threats, break and enter and careless use of firearms.

The task force was set up as part of the previous government’s “Guns and Gangs Strategy,” with $35 million in funding confirmed by Premier John Horgan in his speech to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturegun control

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino’s Race for the Blue fishing derby casts philanthropic net

‘Thankful Thursday’ garners over 7,200 cans of tuna for local food banks

Tofino General Hospital Foundation raising funds for new equipment

“The doctors and nurses are worked off their feet.”

Surfrider Pacific Rim: Flash Clean Fridays

Grab your reusable gloves, bags and buckets and join Surfrider Pacific Rim’s newest initiative.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open during pandemic

Tribal Park Allies program needs more buy-in from Tofino businesses.

Tofino mayor Josie Osborne seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Mid Island-Pacific Rim

Longtime B.C. NDP MLA Scott Fraser announced on Monday that he will not be seeking reelection

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read