In this photo taken Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, handguns for sale are lined up in a display case at Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel

In this photo taken Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, handguns for sale are lined up in a display case at Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel

Trudeau government poised to introduce new gun-control legislation

The long-promised bill would enforce stricter storage provisions and target gun smuggling

The Liberal government is poised to introduce legislation as early as next week aimed at strengthening gun control.

The long-promised bill would flesh out last spring’s ban of many firearms, propose stricter storage provisions and target gun smuggling.

The government outlawed a variety of firearms by cabinet order in May, saying they were built for the battlefield, not hunting or sport-shooting.

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons, meaning they can no longer be legally used, sold or imported.

The bill is expected to propose a program to buy back these firearms at fair market value, but allow owners to keep them with strict conditions.

Such a move would alarm gun-control advocates who have been imploring the Liberals for months to make the buyback mandatory to ensure firearms that remain with owners cannot be misused or stolen.

“The families of victims of mass shootings that have been fighting for years for a total ban on semi-automatic, military-style guns would be devastated and angry if the Liberals were to renege on their election promise to buy back all newly prohibited assault weapons,” said the group PolySeSouvient.

“We will not support half measures that compromise public safety and that can be easily reversed by a future Conservative government.”

The Liberal government has long signalled its intention to empower municipalities to manage the storage and use of handguns within their individual jurisdictions, given that they have different needs and concerns.

Critics of the plan have urged the government to avoid off-loading handgun restrictions onto municipalities, saying local bans create an ineffective patchwork of regulations.

The Danforth Families for Safe Communities, whose members have pressed for a ban on private ownership of handguns, said gun violence in Toronto has only got worse since the tragic 2018 shooting.

“We cannot understand why assault rifles and handguns will remain part of the assortment of guns that ordinary citizens are legally allowed to own, knowing that our system regularly results in violent individuals falling through the cracks,” the group said.

“Relying on fines, law-abiding behaviour and bureaucratic oversight is not enough to eliminate the possibility for individuals to use their weapons to commit mass murder.”

Toronto Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith advocates national restrictions on handguns that allow municipalities to opt out if they choose.

“It should be the elected officials in city councils and municipal bodies that are ultimately responsible for changing a really strong standard,” he said.

The bill is expected to:

— Include provisions allowing police, doctors, victims of domestic abuse and families to be able to raise a red flag on those with guns who pose a risk to themselves or an identifiable group;

— Introduce stricter secure storage laws to help prevent the theft of firearms;

— Open the door to more resources and stronger penalties for police and border services officers to help stop the flow of weapons over borders and target the illegal trafficking of firearms;

— Include new penalties for gun purchases by a licensed buyer on behalf of an unlicensed one;

— Maintain current firearm magazine limits, which are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns, but crack down on the sale of magazines that can be modified to hold more cartridges.

Toronto-area Liberal MP Pam Damoff said legislation to tighten firearm restrictions is a priority.

“I’m hopeful we see it soon, because we don’t know how much runway we have when we’re in a minority government and I’d like to see it passed.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Sherpas Cinema films Imagination in the West Kootenay. Photo: Jake Dyson
New Kootenay film commission unveiled

The Civic Theatre and Kootenay Rockies Tourism have partnered on the initiative

Old tennis courts in Salmo are going to be renovated thanks to a School District 8 initiative. Photo: Submitted
Salmo tennis courts, skate park to be revitalized

School District 8 is partnering with other organizations on the $135,000 project

Hannah Deboer-Smith (left) and her sister Avery Deboer-Smith are involved in myriad activities in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
The women who make Nelson great

We celebrate some of the women who make impacts big and small on our city

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. File photo
COMMON’S CORNER: Challenging the government on vaccine availability and more

The first of a quarterly column from Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read