BC to ban sale of BB & pellet guns to youth

New gun control measures

The B.C. government announced legislation Wednesday that will ban the sale of low-velocity or imitation firearms to youth.

The restrictions were announced with a series of other proposed measures that take aim at illegal weapons and gang members.

"We are putting expert advice into practice to reduce shootings related to gangs and the drug trade. These new measures targeting illegal and imitation firearms will give police additional tools and help make our communities safer," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

"At the same time, we recognize most firearm owners in B.C. are law abiding. As such, these changes should have little to no impact on them."

If passed, the Firearm Violence Prevention Act (Bill 4) will:

* penalize drivers who transport illegal firearms;

* authorize the impoundment of vehicles used to transport illegal firearms or flee police;

* prohibit people from having real or imitation firearms in specific locations, like schools and hospitals, where they have no legitimate purpose. These restrictions will complement existing laws concerning firearm possession, use, handling and storage;

* stop the sale of imitation and low-velocity guns to youth and make it illegal for youth to fire or display these weapons anywhere a provincial, federal, First Nations or municipal law prohibits discharging firearms;

* curtail gang members' use of shooting ranges and strengthen user-related record keeping; and

* protect from civil liability social workers and health professionals who, in good faith, breach client confidentiality by reporting information to police to prevent gun violence.

Farnworth said youth will still be able to receive a “low-velocity” gun like a pellet or BB gun as a gift, but they would only be able to use it in rural areas where discharging a firearm is legal.

“These recommendations targeting illegal and imitation firearms will provide police with the necessary tools to advance investigations and combat gun violence in our communities," said Dwayne McDonald, assistant commissioner, BC RCMP Criminal Operations - Federal, Investigative Services and Organized Crime.

The legislation will also prohibit installing aftermarket secret compartments in vehicles that are often used to hide guns and drugs. The government will also be able to collect fingerprints from people applying for armoured vehicle and body armour permits, to verify the results of criminal record checks.

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