KAMLOOPS — A provincial task force dedicated to ridding B.C. of gun violence released its report today.
The Illegal Firearms Task Force, consisting of provincial experts with a wide range of experience in managing illegal firearms and organized crime, published its research after analyzing existing published research, conducting numerous interviews and holding numerous rounds of community consultation.
The report included 37 recommendations to deal with issues related to policing, legislative and policy changes, education and prevention. The government plans to follow up on four of those recommendations immediately. They include:
- Creation of an intelligence-led illegal firearms trafficking team. Expanding its mandate as the province's gang unit, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit will establish and lead a provincial illegal-firearms-focused strategy that includes cross-border investigations into domestic and international firearms traffickers in partnership with the Canada Border Services Agency.
- Establishing a centralized firearms intelligence hub to compile and analyse data that builds a comprehensive intelliegence picture related to illegal firearms.
- Law enforcement prioritization. Using the targeted process known as PTEP (Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priority), CFSEU-BC will work to coordinate and leverage all law enforcement to prioritize efforts against the use and trafficking of illegal firearms.
- Federal engagement. The province will actively press the federal government to provide B.C.'s share of the recently announced additional funding of $326.7 million over five years for help with the fight against guns and gangs.
Other recommendations include the modification of firearms and use of imitation firearms, vehicle use in gun violence, expansion of Bar Watch or similar programs, looking at enhancing safe schools programs and working with the federal government on things like examing better ways to trace the history and movement of firearms.
"As I've said many times, all British Columbians deserve to live in safe communities, free of violent crime and gang activities. Unfortunately, British Columbia continues to experience highly dangerious incidents of firearms violence that have resulted in numerous deaths and injuries and placed innocent members of the public at risk," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
In 2015, Farnworth says there were 2,000 incidents involving criminal use of firearms here in B.C including homicide, attempted homicide, robbery, assault, uttering threats, break and enters and careless use.
You can access the full report by clicking here.
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