New provincial firearms lab to enhance response to gun violence

POLICE in British Columbia will have one more tool to help suppress organized crime and gun violence, thanks to a newly opened provincial forensic firearms lab.

“This lab is another step in our government’s effort to address gang activity and gun violence in communities across B.C.,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, on Tuesday. “It will help police build intelligence on illegal firearms, including those used in gang-related shootings, and aid in prosecutions, so that dangerous criminals can be put behind bars and are no longer putting British Columbians at risk.”

The BC Provincial Forensic Firearms Laboratory (PFFL) will be a centralized firearms intelligence hub, helping increase police capacity to analyze illegal firearms that were used for criminal activity and seized by police.

Photo: BC Government

“People in Surrey and communities across the province are tired and frustrated by the recent spike in brazen acts of violence, and they want to know what more can be done,” said Jinny Sims, MLA for Surrey-Panorama. “Our government is committed to providing the necessary resources to continue targeting violent criminals and build safer communities.”

Funded at $1.2 million through the federal Guns and Gangs Violence Action Fund and established under the Organized Crime Agency of BC (OCABC), the lab is a key component of the provincial Gang Suppression Action Plan, which targets multi-sector law enforcement, government and community support and disruption of organized crime and associated violence.

“The newly established Provincial Forensic Firearms Lab will be a valuable asset in the arsenal to target and reduce gun violence in B.C. This lab is a part of a comprehensive provincial response led by the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia, and is already prioritizing the analysis of firearms and casings linked to gang violence,” said Duncan Pound, acting Chief Officer Superintendent, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-BC. “Evidence secured within this new facility will support investigations and prosecutions of individuals and criminal organizations who pose the greatest risk to public safety in B.C.”

The creation of the PFFL was also one of the recommendations of the Illegal Firearms Task Force final report, which focused on understanding how illegal firearms are acquired and used by gang members and criminals in British Columbia. The report will continue to help inform further plans to deal with gangs and organized crime in the coming months.

Learn More:

Guns and gangs funding factsheet:

Illegal Firearms Task Force Report:

Some incidents of shootings/homicides since December 27 in the Lower Mainland:

February 14: Shooting between occupants of vehicles in Delta; burned-out vehicle seized

February 12: Adrian Golofit, 31, found dead in his Surrey home; not known to police

February 11: Neal Pratap, 44, shot and killed in Burnaby

February 8: Shooting in Abbotsford; no description of suspects or vehicles

February 4: Shana Harris-Morrris, 23, killed and male injured in Surrey shooting

February 4: Shooting in Surrey’s Tannery Park; no suspects

February 3: Shooting in wooded area in Surrey; no suspects

February 3: Chris Kenworthy, 32, shot dead inside a vehicle in Burnaby.

February 1: Exchange of gunfire between occupants of two vehicles in Richmond.

January 30: Two young men known to police escape uninjured in Langley shooting.

January 26: Arshdeep Singh, 22, shot dead, another young man injured in Langley shooting.

January 18: 27-year-old Langley man known to police shot in Langley.

January 16: Shooting between occupants of two cars in Langley City and Brookswood.

January 10: Person injured in a shooting in Coquitlam.

January 9: Dilraj Johal, 28, shot and killed in Richmond.

January 7: Anees Mohammed, 29, shot and killed in Richmond.

January 6: Gary Kang, 24, shot and killed in Surrey.

December 28: Tequel Willis, 14, shot and killed in Surrey.

December 27: Harman Singh Dhesi, 19, shot and killed in Surrey.