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Here are all the prohibited weapons people tried to sneak into B.C. last year

The Canada Border Services Agency seized thousands of weapons and some of them are very peculiar.
A couple of morning stars were confiscated in B.C. in 2021 by the CBSA.

Thousands of prohibited weapons were seized at the Canada-U.S. border in B.C. in 2021, despite pandemic-related travel restrictions.

While fewer travellers crossed the Canadian border last year, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) still seized thousands of weapons, with the lion's share of them seized in the mail. 

A total, the CBSA seized 64,701 weapons in Canada in 2021, excluding firearms, and an additional 24,130 of them in 2022 so far, according to data provided to Vancouver Is Awesome. 

In 2021, the CBSA also seized more than 1,100 firearms, over double the number in 2020 and the highest number of seizures on record.

And in 2020, the CBSA seized 52,544 prohibited weapons, which was a dramatic increase from 2019 when it seized over 30 per cent fewer, at 17,551. 

Movement of prohibited weapons across the Canadian border

The CBSA plays a direct role in protecting Canadian communities by combating the movement of prohibited weapons across our border. While the Agency is responsible for facilitating legitimate trade and travel across Canada's border, it has a robust intelligence and enforcement program to ensure that Canada's population is protected from border-related risks.

Spokesperson Rebecca Purdy tells V.I.A. that the CBSA has employed new tools to stem the flow of illegal and prohibited materials into Canada. 

"Guided by intelligence, our officers also use contraband detection tools such as handheld devices, small-scale and large-scale X-ray machines, and detector dogs. Their specialized training, expertise, and knowledge in detecting contraband allows them to always be on the lookout for prohibited, restricted, or regulated goods," she explained.

"Officers are trained in examination, investigative and questioning techniques and look for indicators of non-compliance and use a risk management approach in determining which goods may warrant a closer inspection."

These projects and investigations have led to numerous seizures across the country, and various charges laid under the Customs Act, Firearms Act, and the Criminal Code.

In B.C., a total of 5,478 weapons were seized at the Vancouver International Mail Centre, 684 were seized at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in cargo, and 49 weapons were seized at the Abbotsford-Huntingdon CBSA office. However, weapons were seized at several other checkpoints across the province, as well as in traffic rather than cargo at YVR. 

The most commonly confiscated weapons were automatic opening knives (2,095), followed by brass knuckles (1,635), centrifugal opening knives (892), stun guns (645), and push daggers (373). The quantities drop off significantly after that. 

Here are all of the quantities of weapons seized at B.C. checkpoints in 2021: 

  • 2,095 automatic opening knives
  • 1,635 brass knuckles
  • 892 Centrifugal opening knives 
  • 645 stun guns
  • 373 push daggers
  • 26 bladed rings 
  • 23 crossbow s
  • 56 gravity opening knives
  • 49 handguns 
  • 116 innocuous devices with knives 
  • 66 kiyoga/steel cobra batons
  • 94 nunchaku
  • 373 push daggers 
  • 24 semiautomatic pistols 
  • 26 shuriken 
  • 99 tasers
  • 60 tear gas/pepper spray cannisters
  • 1 Antique firearm
  • 1 Kusari/Manrikigusari 
  • 1 Semiautomatic Carbine
  • 2 constant Companions
  • 2 morning stars