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

First fall storm expected to hit Greater Victoria tonight

Heavy rainfall, winds expected over the next several days

HMCS Victoria popping up as training sessions underway

MARPAC says plume of smoke normal for recharging submarine

B.C. ELECTION: MLA Adam Olsen says NDP is sacrificing health for politics

Olsen acknowledges situation of a snap election is not ideal for BC Greens,

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Cowichan Valley family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Most Read