Ottawa set to introduce new gun law

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 19.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Ottawa is set to reveal this week whether it will require all owners of banned assault weapons to surrender these firearms, after an earlier failed bill that would have made surrender optional sparked controversy. sharp criticism from gun control advocates.

The tougher new mandate, if it materializes, would be contained in a gun bill that the Liberal government is expected to table as early as Monday. The bill is expected to mark a revival of sorts for Bill C-21, a gun control bill that died on the order paper when the federal election was called in August.

The Liberal Party pledged during the 2019 election campaign to introduce a buy-back program for “all legally purchased military-style assault rifles in Canada”, only to design a voluntary – not mandatory – buy-back program, revealed when C-21 was filed in early 2021. This bill proposed to increase penalties for smuggling firearms and create a criminal offense for modifying magazine capabilities beyond legal limits. He also proposed allowing municipalities to ban handguns.

Bill C-21 would also have allowed existing rifle owners to retain prohibited weapons through a grandfathering process. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said early last year that his government had opted for a voluntary system after studying and rejecting the measures introduced in New Zealand. The government there banned and mandated the buyback of tactical-style rifles following a 2019 mass shooting in Christchurch that left 51 people dead.

Gun control advocates urge MPs to close loopholes in assault-style gun ban

Fewer guns or fewer criminals? When it comes to stopping gun violence, we don’t have to choose

The bill was quickly criticized at the time, including by gun control groups who felt it did not go far enough. “It was a total failure,” said Sunday Heidi Rathjen, coordinator of PolyRemembers, formed by survivors of the 1989 Polytechnic school shooting that left 14 people dead. “Bill C-21 was an empty shell designed to do as little as possible and provide talking points for politicians.

During the 2021 election campaign, after the death of C-21, the The Liberals have pledged to require owners of banned assault rifles to either sell the firearms back to the government for destruction or render them unusable at federal expense.

The federal government has given various other indications of the buy-back program that will be introduced in its new gun bill. will be mandatory. The measure is specifically mentioned in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to his Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino. In March, Ottawa extended the amnesty on the possession of prohibited firearms until the fall of 2023, which Mr. Mendicino said was necessary to finalize a mandatory program, which could be launched this spring, ” if not as soon as possible”.

A spokesman for Mr. Mendicino declined to comment on the New the contents of the bill and said that the minister was not available. During an appearance on CTV Question Period On Sunday, Justice Minister David Lametti did not say whether the grandfather clause would reappear in the new bill. He said he would not prejudge the specifics of the legislation, adding “there are a number of different measures that we had announced, as well as what we had done” with Bill C-21. “Everything is still on the table,” he said.

The bill comes at a particularly charged time, following high-profile mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, this month. The killings have intensified the political debate south of the border over tougher gun laws. The Liberals warned in their 2021 election platform that “American-style gun violence is on the rise” in Canada.

On Friday, Statistics Canada reported that violent crime involving firearms increased from 2013 to 2019, after several years of decline. In 2020, there were 29 victims of violent gun crime per 100,000 people in Canada, up from 19 victims in 2013, according to police reports.

Statscan warned that there were “data gaps” regarding firearms, including that “there is no consistent definition of a shooting applied by police departments”. The agency also said “little information” is collected on firearms associated with crimes.

Rod Giltaca, executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Gun Rights, said he was concerned the new bill would restrict the rights of licensed gun owners and have a negligible effect on the public security. “Any measures that hold criminals accountable or demonstrably increase public safety, we are in favor of,” he said.

The Statscan report indicates that 59% of violent gun crimes involved handguns in 2020, with a higher rate in urban centers. Several groups are hoping for a federal ban on handguns, rather than bans imposed by lower levels of government.

“This does not mean offloading the responsibility onto the cities. It doesn’t mean offloading the responsibility onto the provinces,” said Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

The Liberal government has spent over $920 million since 2016 on various gun control measures.

In the spring of 2020, it banned more than 1,500 models of ‘assault-type’ firearms, including the VZ58 rifle, one of the weapons used in the 2017 shooting at a Quebec mosque that killed six worshipers. Muslims.

Earlier this month he introduced final regulations requiring businesses that sell firearms to keep sales and inventory records, confirm the identity of buyers and ensure they hold permits valid firearms. The regulatory change comes three years after the underlying Bill C-71 received Royal Assent.

The settlement drew criticism from the federal Conservative Party, which said in a statement that the government was restoring the national long-gun registry, created by Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government in the 1990s and abolished by the Harper government.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are compiled by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. register today.

Leave a Comment