The B.C. government will use new federal anti-gang funds to set up a firearms lab and provide grants to communities struggling with gang violence, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says.
Bill Blair, federal minister of border security and organized crime, announced Monday that B.C.’s share of a new guns and gangs fund will be $5.3 million over two years, to expand existing efforts to disrupt gangs and get people out of the gang lifestyle.
Priority communities will receive grants for local efforts, and the province will obtain a prefabricated firearms lab to help with investigations of gun crime, Farnworth said. The new lab will “enhance analysis of recovered firearms and help provide timely, province-wide certification analysis and tracing of firearms,” he said.
Blair said shootings have become the largest category of homicide in the country.
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) March 4, 2019
“This investment will identify priority communities and support the efforts of local community groups and police forces to prevent and combat gun and gang-related violence,” Blair said.
Farnworth emphasized the efforts B.C. already has in place to keep young people from getting involved in drug gangs.
“This new funding being announced today will help us with a made-in-B.C. approach that addresses B.C.’s unique gang culture,” Farnworth said. “It will be used to emphasize community engagement, focusing on select priority communities in B.C. that are struggling with serious and organized crime.”