Victoria – A key deliverable in British Columbia’s $23-million expanded Guns and Gangs Strategy is underway with the creation of an Illegal Firearms Task Force. Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General made the announcement at this year’s UBCM conference in Victoria.
With a budget of $200,000 the newly appointed task force brings together key stakeholders and subject matter experts who will be putting pen to paper this fall to draft a series of recommendations to help identify, address and combat illegal firearms in British Columbia.
The key objectives of the task force’s study are to:
- Examine current provincial and federal legislation, interdiction and enforcement policies.
- Identify gaps and needs to combat illegal possession and illegal use of firearms within British Columbia.
- Develop a report with key findings and recommendations to be presented to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
- The task force will host their first meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and their final report and recommendations are expected in early spring 2017.The creation of the task force is one of many steps outlined in the expanded Guns and Gangs Strategy announced on April 15, 2016, that works to address gun and gang violence from all sides. The task force also complements the work taking place on the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Crime Prevention and Policing Committee working group, which has been tasked with developing a national Guns and Gangs Strategy.
Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
The use of illegal firearms to commit murders, attempted murders, home invasions and other violent acts is a serious public safety issue in British Columbia and one this government has been working to address through the provincial Guns and Gangs Strategy and through events like the upcoming firearms amnesty scheduled for the month of October. I look forward to reviewing the report and recommendations from the task force this spring and for their contribution in the fight to keep illegal firearms off our streets.”
Kevin Hackett, chief supt., Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit –
“We know that integration is critical when it comes to combating gun and gang violence. We are committed to working with the Illegal Firearms Task Force and with local police, municipal government officials, First Nations leaders and other relevant parties to ensure we share expertise and leverage resources to help prevent access to illegal firearms.”
- In 2015, there were over 2,000 incidents involving the criminal use of firearms in British Columbia.
- These incidents included such offences as homicide, attempted homicide, robbery, assault, uttering threats, break and enters and careless use.
- During the investigation of these incidents over 3,000 illegal firearms were seized by law enforcement personnel.
To learn more about recent efforts under way under B.C.’s Guns and Gangs Strategy please visit: http://ow.ly/P6Al303Zh5u
To learn more about the provincial Gun Amnesty planned for October 2016 please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/12131