Some guards at B.C. legislature to get guns
By Dirk Meissner for The Canadian PressNews Public Sector bc government
Guns, bullet-proof vests, metal detectors and an airport-like security screening area will soon be the norm at British Columbia's legislature in the wake of the recent Ottawa shootings and a security review.
The all-party Legislative Assembly Management Committee approved Wednesday evening a seven-point security package recommended by the legislature’s sergeant-at-arms, Gary Lenz.
The vote means protective services staff who are designated as special provincial constables will be equipped and trained in the use of firearms.
Lenz said armed guards are needed at the legislature to meet any threat posed by someone with a weapon, and about 45 of 70 guards will receive the training.
“Here we’re not like the House of Commons in Ottawa where we have police cars and police,” said Lenz.
“We are what we have. If we have to wait five minutes or eight minutes or ten minutes for a response, that’s a lifetime. What’s required is to have an adequate presence here to deal with a threat immediately, as was done in Ottawa.”
He told the committee that the special provincial constables are primarily former police officers and will now be carrying firearms as part of their uniforms.
Premier Christy Clark said last month she supported a security review even though she feels safe at the buildings after the Ottawa shootings.
The committee also approved installing metal-detector equipment at the front entrance of the legislature and supported the introduction of an airport-like security screening area, through which all members of the public, including tour groups, will have to pass before entering the building.
MLA’s and staff who work in the legislature will also receive training in active-shooter response.
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot dead at the National War Memorial in Ottawa the morning of Oct. 22, before gunman Michael Zehaf Bibeau stormed onto Parliament Hill.
Bibeau was shot dead in the Centre Block by Kevin Vickers, the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons.
On Canada Day, two years ago at B.C.’s legislature in Victoria, police arrested a man and woman after a failed plot to plant an explosive device on the grounds.
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