Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is not ruling out the possibility of a national ban on handguns in Canada, saying the federal government is leaving “all options on the table.”
In an interview with CTV’s Question Hour, Mendicino said Ottawa’s newly introduced gun control bill is “a step in the right direction” to reduce gun violence nationwide, but it will not eliminate the problem all at once. .
“Bill C-21, while it is a significant advance and the most ambitious in a generation, will not in itself eliminate gun violence. We have to invest in our police, we have to make sure that we are protecting our borders, we have to bring in a smart gun policy and we also have to make sure that we are addressing gun crime to its root cause, “They said.
“It’s not about choosing one. It’s about doing them all at the same time.”
On Monday, Ottawa announced proposed legislation that, in part, places a national prohibition on the import, purchase, sale or otherwise transfer of handguns.
It does not ban the firearm outright, allowing current owners to keep and continue using them, but it aims to restrict the numbers already in Canada.
Among other measures, it would allow the removal of gun licenses from people who commit acts of domestic violence, provide more tools to investigate firearms crimes, strengthen border measures to prevent the smuggling of firearms, and a The new “red flag” would create legislation requiring people who consider themselves to be a danger to themselves or others to surrender their firearms to the police.
Critics of the bill, and in particular the handgun freeze, say it unfairly targets highly legitimate, legal firearms owners rather than criminals who obtain guns illegally.
Mendicino denied this claim.
“Bill C-21 does not target law-abiding gun owners, it targets handgun violence, it targets organized crime,” he said.
“I have great respect for law-abiding gun owners and have engaged with them and I have roped in some of my opposition colleagues to speak with them. But the fact of the matter is that Statistics Canada reports that gun violence is on the rise, particularly handgun violence.
The federal government had previously committed to working province-by-province on handgun restrictions, which gun-control advocates argued would only create a patchwork system of differing approaches.
In 2020, Ottawa banned 1,500 assault-style weapons as well as announced an upcoming buyback program.
When asked when the buyback program would begin, Mendicino said they are committed to start the process by the end of this year.
With files from the Canadian Press.