Sooke Mounties now armed with high-powered rifles

Semi-automatic carbine rifles part of RCMP’s push to better arm police officers

Sooke is joining hundreds of other RCMP detachment across Canada and equipping its officers with semi-automatic carbine rifles.

So far, eight Sooke officers have been trained with the weapon, said Sooke RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur.

“We have more than half the staff trained on [the carbine] so it’s going better than expected,” McArthur said, adding the detachment recently bought another carbine. Each gun costs $4,000.

The nationwide RCMP push to better equip its forces comes in wake of the deadly 2014 Moncton police shootout with Justin Bourque, who fatally gunned down three police officers and wounded two others using high-powered assault rifles.

Equipped with only pistols and shotguns, the incident showed the RCMP that its officers were terribly outgunned when dealing with such a threat.

McArthur told Sooke council last week the goal is to have a carbine in every police cruiser.

Though admittedly necessary, Mayor Maja Tait expressed concern over the need for carbines in Sooke.

“I’m just surprised that such high-powered equipment is needed in our community, or anywhere. [The carbine] is an aggressive piece of equipment,” she said. “I suppose it’s one of those things that you train on, you maintain, and thankfully never have to use.”

McArthur said it was better to have RCMP officers equipped and ready to go then not having them at all.

“I know that your opinion would change tomorrow if we needed to put it into action, but right now when it’s not needed, there’s always those questions,” he said. “Do you want a police force that’s unable to handle a potential threat, or one that’s ready?”

The RCMP carbine, also known as a machine gun or assault rifle, is a variant of the Colt C8, the Canadian cousin of the American Colt M4 carbine, used by law enforcement agencies, military personnel and special forces.

Unlike the military-bound C8, however, which is fully automatic and used in the Canadian Armed Forces, police C8’s are semi-automatic (single-shot or short-round-bursts). A carbine can hold anywhere between 10 and 30 rounds per magazine, depending on model, while light machine guns can hold 200 rounds or more.

Sooke is no stranger to machine guns or assault rifles.

Last year, a drive-by-shooting left two people in hospital and led to a week-long manhunt across Vancouver Island, while in another incident, individuals were caught “practice shooting” semi-automatic weapons in Otter Point near a residential area.

Mounties also seized numerous illegal assault rifles during several drug busts both in Sooke and the Greater Victoria area in the last year.

Regardless of their application, RCMP-bound carbines will not be in the public eye, McArthur added.

“You won’t see us packing them into the Stick in the Mud, unless their price of coffee goes up substantially,” he laughed.


Just Posted

Victoria couple hope unmanned boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus, UVic scientists to have drone collect environmental data en route

Sooke councillor questions CRD governance model

‘We need to revamp the overall model,’ says Kevin Pearson

Saanich crash victim leaves behind pregnant wife and young son

The death of a Saanich man has left behind a grieving widow,… Continue reading

Chef struck by car on Gorge Road dies in hospital

Khushal Singh Rana leaves behind a wife, four-year-old son and unborn twins

Sandown reclamation plan will cost North Saanich $569,000

District approves paying for its impact on water flows to and from the former horse racing track

Big Brother runner-up, Karen Singbeil, buys longest-running business in Oak Bay.

Willows Park Grocery, operating since 1912, has been bought by Karen Singbeil, of Big Brother fame.

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Red hot Vikes women to host playoff opener

UVic Vikes This Week: basketball season kicks off at home

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by B.C. city councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

Sean O’Loughlin named Victoria Symphony’s Principal Pops conductor

American composer has built a career working with some of music’s biggest names

Highway, housing and amalgamation will be on Saanich’s council agenda Monday

A busy agenda awaits Saanich councillors meet Monday. Perhaps the most prolific… Continue reading

Maintenance taking place on Esquimalt Lagoon Bridge this week

Drivers should expect delays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Most Read