WV moves to ban pellet gun use
West Vancouver is considering banning the use of pellet guns in the district, but one resident would like the municipality to take it a step further.
Like all local governments, the district is governed by the federal Firearms Act. But an air or pellet gun is only considered a firearm if it is designed to discharge a pellet at a muzzle velocity of more than 152.4 metres per second.
Both the City and District of North Vancouver have bylaws in place prohibiting the discharge of air guns, rifles and pistols or spring guns within their boundaries — West Vancouver does not.
In April, Michael Burns brought this to council’s attention after finding plastic and metal caps on his lawn. What he found more upsetting were dead birds he discovered in the neighbourhood, many of which he said looked as though they had been shot with such guns.
In response to Burns’ concern, council has brought forward a bylaw that is similar to the other North Shore municipalities. Breaking it will result in fines ranging from $500 to $10,000.
This is good news, Burns says, adding the district now needs to educate the community and retail outlets. Flipping through the weekend’s flyers, Burns says, he often finds ads for pellet guns being sold on the North Shore.
“If your local bylaw says you can’t use them, you shouldn’t be selling them,” Burns says.
He would like to see the district take another step and ban the sale of guns in the municipality. West Van has enacted such policies with other issues, Burns notes. Last year the district banned the sale of rabbits in local pet shops as a proactive measure to stop them from ending up on the SPCA’s doorstep and in parks.
More than 50 young people are hospitalized each year in Canada as a result of pellet gun injures, reports the Canadian Safety Council. They are also a leading cause of eye loss and damage in children and young adults. Taking this into account, Burns says West Van should do the same with pellet guns.
“The person buying the gun is coming in with the intent to use it,” he says.