Trudeau government would allow municipalities to ban handguns under new bill

Paola Ditto
Febbraio 18, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Joel Lightbound, left, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair listen at a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

The Liberals will also complete the prohibition of assault-style firearms to ensure these weapons can not be legally used, transported, sold, transferred, or bequeathed by individuals in Canada.

The new legislation, which adds to the May 2020 Cabinet order outlawing more than 1,500 military grade rifles leaves it up to individual gun owners to decide whether they want to turn their weapons in or keep them securely locked in their homes.

Trudeau acknowledged there would be political fallout from both sides of the gun control debate.

Many gun-control advocates have called for a national handgun ban, warning that leaving it up to municipalities would create an ineffective patchwork of regulations.

But as to whether a city-wide ban would put a dent in the numbers, Julius Haag, an assistant sociology professor at the University of Toronto, says the evidence is mixed.

The Liberal government tabled legislation Tuesday that would allow local governments to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation.

"While the draft law leaves much work still to be done, the more than a dozen elements dealing with the many different aspects of gun violence make it worthy of CDPG's support", the group said.

Mayors in Toronto and Vancouver have said the municipal handgun ban is something they would consider.

Trudeau said Canadian officials studied gun buyback schemes operated by other countries, including New Zealand. "But the core of why we are doing this, the core of why Canadians want this done, is to keep our communities safe".

He says the bill does not target law-abiding citizens, "We are not targeting law-abiding citizens who own guns to go hunting or for sports shooting".

"Without a mandatory buyback program, tens of thousands of fully functional assault weapons will remain in circulation for decades to come", said Nathalie Provost, who survived four gunshot wounds during the masassacre at the École Polytechnique.

Combat intimate partner and gender-based violence, and self-harm involving firearms by creating "red flag" and "yellow flag" laws.

"Too many Canadians have been killed or injured because of gun violence, and we need to take every reasonable step to stop more Canadians from suffering the same fate".

"This is imperfect legislation but a very Canadian approach to addressing a complex issue", Dr. Philip Berger, senior adviser to Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, said in a statement. There would be tighter restrictions on imports of ammunition and a ban on the import, export, sales and transfers of all replica firearms.

During his presentation, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair reminded Canadians gun ownership in Canada is a privilege and not a right.

"And I think Mr. Trudeau misleads people when he tries to suggest that buying things back from hunters and other Canadians who are law abiding is somehow going to solve the problem of shooting and criminal gang activity in the big cities".

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says the proposed law does not adequately deal with the rampant use of illegal firearms.

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