Bear spray: Manitoba wants closer look at sales

The Winnipeg police chief says it’s “too easy” to get hold of the cans, so Manitoba’s justice minister wants to take a closer look at where the bear spray used in crime is bought. I’m here.

This follows several attacks and incidents in recent weeks, including bear spraying in Winnipeg.

Over the weekend, police reported a series of bear spray attacks in the city’s West End and downtown areas. Police said as of Monday, the two suspects in the attack had not yet been arrested.

In early February, police arrested several teenagers on suspicion of assaulting 11 people with bear spray on a bus, in a store and at a recreation center.

Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smith said Tuesday that police are increasingly encountering bear spray during calls, and more people are carrying bear spray in their backpacks.

“We don’t have many bears in the city, so we know it’s being used improperly,” he said.

Smith believes that we need to talk about regulations and restrictions.

“Whether it’s a matter of the industry itself, trying to be more regulated around sales, or a legislative issue, there are many ways,” he said. “But at this point, it’s all too easy to pick up bear spray and use it in ways it wasn’t intended.”

Winnipeg anti-crime advocate Ser Burroughs agrees. He wants tighter regulations on bear spray, saying the items should be sold in areas where people are hunting rather than in urban areas.

“There are ways to prevent children from getting bear spray, which is very dangerous,” he said.

When asked on Tuesday what states could do to limit the sale of bear spray, Justice Minister Kelvin Herzen said more information was needed before taking that step. .

“My concern is that sometimes we do this when we have a problem with a product that people are using illegally and we are in a hurry to ban or ban it, but if the individual who is using it illegally Nothing changes because we continue to use , we need to access it in a different way,” he said.

“So the only people who really get punished are those who use it properly.”

Goertzen says there are good reasons to buy bear spray, such as when you go hiking or camping. But he wants to know where the bear spray used in these types of attacks comes from and how attackers get their hands on it.

“If it’s coming[from]online and it’s coming across state or other borders, it’s a different kind of discussion about how to prevent it. or from a place, that’s a different discussion.”

Goertzen advocated for changes to the penal code, adding modified bear spray (such as camouflaged cans) as a prohibited weapon, making it more difficult for those who use it during crimes to obtain bail. bottom.

Herzen said the state will meet on March 10 in Ottawa on possible bail reform.

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