A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)

B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The B.C. government has presented legislation to allow police to impound vehicles that transport firearms, and puts further restrictions on the sale of imitation guns and body armour.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth tabled the Firearm Violence Prevention Act Wednesday, which will prohibit the sale of imitation or “low-velocity” guns such as BB or pellet guns to young people. He said kids can still receive such a gun as a gift, and use it in rural areas where there are no federal, provincial, first nation or municipal laws that prevent it.

“There is no question the vast majority of firearms owners are law-abiding, and I want to assure you today’s legislation will have no impact on them,” Farnworth told reporters at the B.C. legislature March 3.

The measures come out of a 2017 task force on gun and gang violence, and include new measures to dealing with armoured vehicles, body armour and prohibits after-market installation of compartments used to hide weapons and drugs. The legislation allows collection of fingerprints from people applying for armoured vehicle and body armour permits, to verify criminal record checks.

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“It will allow for the impoundment of vehicles used to flee from police, and those found to be transporting unauthorized firearms,” Farnworth said. “There is a new offence for persons who operate a vehicle found to be transporting an illegal firearm. We are also making it more difficult for gang members to use shooting ranges for target practice.”

Since the task force made its recommendations, B.C. has followed their advice, including the establishment of a provincial firearms lab, so weapons don’t have to be sent to Ottawa for identification and ballistics tests to support a prosecution.


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