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.

Just Posted

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

Snowed In Comedy Tour returns to B.C.

Show comes to Trail on Jan. 30

Minor hockey roots preserved in Trail mural

The Trail Minor Hockey Association founded Minor Hockey Week in 1957

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Have you been the target of petty theft in Trail?

Nelson and Kaslo both claimed Queen City status

Place Names: Queen City of the Kootenays

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read