Canadian Border Services Agency is on a mission to encourage U.S. travellers to leave their firearms at home when they head north.
To that end, CBSA officials launched a Firearms Awareness Campaign Tuesday at South Surrey’s Douglas border.
The launch included a display of recently seized firearms, a demonstration with detector dog Fenix and a clear message that undeclared firearms won’t be tolerated.
“Firearms and weapons are high-risk commodities and their interdiction is a CBSA enforcement priority,” Roslyn MacVicar, regional director general for the Pacific Region, said in a news release.
Those who try to smuggle the weapons into Canada risk forfeiture, hefty fines, criminal prosecution and deportation.
According to the CBSA, the number of firearms seized in the Pacific Highway District – which also includes the truck border – in the first seven months of 2016 (95) was 116 per cent higher than that seized in the same period last year (44).
The majority were personal firearms belonging to travellers arriving from the U.S.
By comparison, the Prairie Region saw a 10 per cent increase.
To avoid penalty or prosecution, all firearms must be declared at the primary inspection booth. At that point, the officer may take possession, but the weapon or weapons will not be seized, officials said. The traveller will then have the option of exporting the firearm under CBSA supervision or abandoning it to the Crown.
Prohibited firearms, devices or weapons may not be imported under any circumstances.