Thursday, 25 February, 2021

New legislation would allow municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws

Canada introduces new gun buy-back program as firearms legislation tabled New bill would end all legal use of banned assault-style weapons
Sandy Nunez | 17 February, 2021, 03:26

The federal government is taking additional steps in its battle against gun violence, announcing new legislation to allow cities to ban handguns, and a new buy-back program.

The buy-back program will be voluntary and gun owners may choose to keep their weapons, however, under the new legislation it would be illegal to use, transport or resell the outlawed guns and gun owners will be required to complete a new licensing process.

C-21 would also allow municipalities to ban guns, handguns in particular, on their territory.

Trudeau and Blair admitted the government, through the RCMP regime that tracks firearms, does not know even how numerous weapons there are in the country.

"Banning 1,500 models of assault-style weapons previous year was a critical step, but we also need to continue to fight the illegal gun market".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced Bill C-21 in a press conference, joined by Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who had tabled the bill in the House of Commons this morning, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and others.

It doesn't matter that gun owners won't be "allowed" to use them, the point is they can.

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"We are backing up the cities with serious federal and criminal penalties to enforce these bylaws, including jail time for people who violate these municipal rules", said Trudeau.

"This is a huge win for the gun lobby", said Heidi Rathjen, a witness to the Ecole Polytechnique shooting massacre in 1989 who is coordinator of the group PolySeSouvient.

"The multi-faceted approach to gun control we are proposing combines evidence-based policies, tougher Criminal Code penalties, and funding for programs that address root causes that lead to criminal behavior in the first place", said Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti. "But the core of why we are doing this, the core of why Canadians want this done, is to keep our communities safe". The ban proved controversial among Canada's sizable gun owner community, with the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) challenging the regulatory ban in court.

The new bill, which expanded gun safety measures the Liberals brought down last May in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in Nova Scotia, eliminated a mandatory scheme that would have compelled owners of assault-style rifles to give them up in return for cash compensation. The measures we are proposing are concrete and practical, and they have one goal and one goal only.

Additional measures to protect Canadians from gun violence include the creation of new offences for altering the cartridge magazine component of a firearm and depicting violence in firearms advertising, introducing tighter restrictions on imports of ammunition, and ensuring the prohibition of imports, exports, sales, and transfers of all replica firearms.

Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns welcomed the legislation, saying while it "leaves much work to be done", the various elements make it worthy of support.

"This is a comprehensive bill that, if enacted, will save lives", said Dr. Najma Ahmed, co-Chair of CDPG and trauma surgeon at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.