Friday, July 1, 2022

Ottawa ready to introduce new firearms law

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves for 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this week whether it will force all owners of banned assault weapons to give up those firearms, following an earlier unpublished bill that would have made surrender optional, gun-control advocates said. was severely criticized.

The new, stronger mandate, if it goes into effect, will be subsumed into a firearms bill the Liberal government will put on the table early Monday. The bill is expected to mark a revival of sorts for the C-21, the proposed gun-control law that died on order paper when a federal election was called in August.

liberal Party During the 2019 election campaign it was promised to introduce a buyback program for “all military-style assault rifles legally purchased in Canada”, only to create a voluntary – not mandatory – buyback program, when was C-21 Introduced in early 2021. That bill proposed increasing the penalties for gun smuggling and making it a criminal offense to alter magazine capabilities beyond the legal limit. It also proposed allowing municipalities to ban handguns.

Bill C-21 would have allowed existing rifle owners to have banned guns under the Grandfathering Procedure. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said early last year his government had decided on a voluntary system after studying and rejecting measures introduced in New Zealand. The government has banned and mandated buybacks of tactical-style rifles after the 2019 mass shooting in Christchurch that killed 51 people.

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The bill came under intense criticism at the time, particularly from gun-control groups, who felt it had not gone far enough. “It completely failed,” Heidi Rathgen, coordinator of Polyremembers, formed by survivors of the 1989 cole Polytechnique shooting that killed 14 women, said Sunday. “Bill C-21 was an empty shell designed to do as little as possible and get politicians to talk.”

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During the 2021 election campaign, after C-21 died, The Liberals pledged to make it mandatory for owners of banned assault rifles to either sell the firearms back to the government for destruction or to have them disabled at federal expense.

The federal government hints at several other buyback programs to be introduced in its new firearms bill. will be mandatory. The measure is specifically mentioned in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to his public security minister, Marco Mendicino. In March, Ottawa extended the amnesty on restricted firearms possession until the fall of 2023, which Mr Mendicino said needed to finalize a mandatory program that could be launched this spring, “if as soon as possible.” could.”

Mr Mendicino’s spokesman declined to comment. new The contents of the bill and that the minister was unavailable. CTV’s . during an appearance on question hour On Sunday, Justice Minister David Lametti gave no further clarity about whether the grandfather clause would reappear in the new bill. He said he would not undo the details in the law, adding that there are “many different measures that we indicated, as well as what we did” with Bill C-21. “Everything is still on the table,” he said.

The bill comes at a particularly charged time this month after the high-profile mass shootings in Uvalde, Tex., and Buffalo, NY. The killings have sparked political debate south of the border over the toughening of 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 crimes involving firearms had increased from 2013 to 2019 after several years of decline. Based on police reports, in 2020, Canada had 29 victims of firearm-related violent crimes for every 100,000 people, up from 19 victims in 2013.

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Statsken cautioned that there were “data gaps” regarding firearms, among them the fact that “there is no consistent definition of a shooting enforced by police services.” The agency also said that “little information” is collected about firearms linked to crimes.

Rod Giltka, chief executive officer of the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights, said he feared the new bill would curtail the rights of licensed gun owners and have a negligible impact on public safety. “Any measure that holds criminals accountable, or explicitly enhances public safety, we are on that side,” he said.

The StatScan report said that 59 percent of firearm-related violent crimes in 2020 involved handguns, with a higher rate in urban centers. Many groups are hoping for a federal handgun ban rather than one imposed by lower levels of government.

“It does not mean downloading responsibility for cities. This does not mean downloading responsibility to the provinces,” said Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

The Liberal government has spent more than $920 million on a variety of gun control measures since 2016.

In the spring of 2020, it banned more than 1,500 models of “assault-style” firearms, including the VZ58 rifle, one of the weapons used during the 2017 Quebec City mosque shootings, in which six Muslim worshipers were killed.

Earlier this month, it introduced final rules requiring businesses that sell guns to keep records of sales and inventory, verify the identities of buyers and ensure they have valid firearms licenses. Huh. The regulatory change is taking place three years after the underlying Bill C-71 received royal assent.

The rules drew criticism from the federal Conservative Party, which said in a statement that the government was rolling back the National Long Gun Registry created in the 1990s by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien and abolished by the Harper government.

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