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B.C. unveils new legislation targeting illegal and imitation firearms

Click to play video: 'Province announces crackdown on guns and gangs' Province announces crackdown on guns and gangs
BC government is taking steps to crack down on gun crime and gang violence. Sarah MacDonald reports – Mar 4, 2021

The British Columbia government unveiled new proposed gun control legislation Thursday that it says will hamper gangsters’ ability to buy or transport real or imitation firearms.

“Gang-related homicides and violence continue to impact the safety of British Columbians. These incidents cause panic, are a drain on police resources and needlessly put the public at risk. It needs to stop,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said.

The proposed Firearm Violence Prevention Act is built on the recommendations from the 2017 task force report on reducing gang and gun violence, and aims to give police more tools to disrupt gangs and gather evidence for prosecutors, Farnworth said.

Read more: B.C. task force issues 37 recommendations to crack down on gun violence

The act would create a new offence for drivers who transport an illegal gun and allow police to impound vehicles that flee officers or transport illegal firearms.

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Farnworth said penalties for the offences still need to be worked out, but would be “significant.”

The act also contains measures aimed at keeping gang members out of firing ranges.

Click to play video: 'Guns and gangs task force makes recommendations' Guns and gangs task force makes recommendations
Guns and gangs task force makes recommendations – Nov 28, 2017

Additionally, the act would create new restrictions around imitation and low-velocity firearms, including a ban on their sale to minors.

“Police have told us it’s extremely difficult to tell whether imitation firearms and low-velocity firearms are real or not,” Farnworth said.

Read more: Charter rights expert says Canada’s new gun control measures necessary, long overdue

Youth will still be allowed to own imitation firearms such as BB guns if they get them as gifts, and will continue to be allowed to use them anywhere where not banned by local bylaws.

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However, bringing an imitation firearm onto school grounds would become illegal.

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