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

A man was arrested at a Nanaimo convenience store last week for challenging customers to fights. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Shadow boxing’ Nanaimo man arrested after challenging convenience store customers to fights

Man spends night in a cell at Nanaimo RCMP detachment, released without charges

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party’s climate action platform at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. Greens say minority government can best address ‘overlapping crises’

Furstenau talks to the News Bulletin about coalitions, old-growth forests and ferries

Two men were stranded on Snake Island after their small boat was blown away by strong winds Wednesday. (News Bulletin file photo)
Boat blows away, stranding fishermen on Snake Island in the strait near Nanaimo

Marine search and rescue team picked up men on windy afternoon Wednesday

Surveillance image of a suspect in a break-and-enter in Nanoose Bay on Oct. 20. (Submitted photo)
Suspect in Nanoose Bay uses garage door opener to get into home, takes keys, steals truck

Oceanside RCMP ask for public’s help to try to identify suspect

Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island this week

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Most Read