LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS 1130) – With all the shootings happening in Surrey over the past few months, where are these guns coming from?
In the past, many gangsters have used firearms that were smuggled into the country from the States. But it appears that’s now changing.
“Police are finding out that most of the guns being used in the recent violence that we’ve seen in Surrey and other parts of the province are being sourced right here in Canada,” says Kim Bolan with the Vancouver Sun, who has been digging into this issue.
She says criminals are getting their hands on guns that have been legally purchased.
“Sometimes, they’re using straw purchasers — people with the appropriate licencing that go in and buy these guns, only to pass them on or sell them at a much higher price to people in the criminal underworld. The other issue is firearms are being stolen, which has to be a concern to legitimate firearms owners that they could be targeted by break-ins by those who have nefarious purposes.”
Bolan points to one case, in which a 40-year-old woman with a firearms licence bought 19 guns from local stores. “Police allege that on March 11th, she was delivering a bunch of those guns to two men in Surrey who didn’t have firearms licences. One of those men has gang connections.”
She adds there’s no word on whether those guns ended up on the streets, involved in the recent gun violence. The woman and two men in that case are facing charges.
Now that a number of guns are being legally purchased on this side of the border, Bolan says police in Metro Vancouver are going to have to look at new ways to fight gun violence.
“Now that the criminals appear to have changed their strategies… the police are also going to have to change their strategies and investigate people who are perhaps purchasing a large number of firearms in a short period of time, when they’ve never done that previously — and see what’s happening with those guns.”