Officers with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have made "significant" seizures of so-called ghost guns in B.C.'s Interior.
In an August 3 announcemt, the CBSA said officers with search warrants in Lumby and West Kelowna seized ghost guns and other weapons. Two men were arrested, then released pending further investigation.
Ghost guns are firearms assembled by unlicensed individuals with parts made with 3-D printers and carry no serial numbers.
The federal law-enforcement agency executed the search warrants on April 27 and 28 but only just released the information.
The CBSA criminal investigations section started looking into the addresses after border services officers in Vancouver and Toronto international mail centres found gun parts addressed to the two individuals.
It is illegal in Canada to assemble or manufacture guns without possessing a firearms business licence. Even firearms parts such as a receiver or frame are legally considered to be firearms under the Criminal Code. No one without authorization can manufacture (including 3-D printing), import, or assemble them.
Under the Criminal Code's sections 99 and 103, respectively, such illegal manufacture and importation is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment. Smuggling such firearms into the country can bring a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of as much as $500,000 under the Customs Act's Section 159.
According to the August 3 CBSA bulletin, when officers entered the West Kelowna home on April 27, they found a handgun part in the process of being 3-D printed. It was seized, along with six other gun parts without serial numbers. A 46-year-old man was arrested.
In Lumby the next day, officers arrested a 27-year-old man (who had previously been prohibited from possessing firearms) and seized a loaded 9mm handgun without a serial number. Also seized were nine nonrestriicted long guns, a stun gun, four containers of ammunition, and a prohibited knife.
The CBSA said in the release that its criminal investigations section is reviewing the seized evidence for violations of the Criminal Code and Customs Act; it may subsequently recommend prosecutions.
Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino said ghost guns are an increasing hazard for Canadians.
“We’re taking action to keep Canadians safe from gun violence," Mendicino said in the bulletin. " ‘Ghost guns’ pose a serious risk to our communities for many reasons, including they are becoming easier to manufacture and difficult to trace when used by criminals.
"That’s why we are continuing to invest in new X-ray technology and K-9 units to protect our borders," he continued. "I want to thank the CBSA for their incredible work in keeping guns out of Canada.“