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

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A barrel racer is seen at the Cloverdale Rodeo. (Photo courtesy Cloverdale Rodeo)
Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair postponed until later in 2021

Rodeo president say both public safety related to the pandemic and the removal of border restrictions will determine new date

Bob Jadis, along with a team of painters and an etch artist, are selling firefly lanterns with 100 per cent of the funds allocated to the Sources South Surrey White Rock Food Bank. (Contributed photo)
Lanterns flying of the shelves as White Rock fundraiser gains momentum

Decorated bottles are on sale for $50, with all of the money donated to the food bank

A proposed multi-family, multi-building development in east White Rock was the subject of a public hearing Monday evening. (City of White Rock image)
Pros and cons of White Rock housing development debated at virtual public hearing

Affordable housing need, traffic concerns among reasons cited for and against Beachway project

The new Phoenix Flame BBQ truck serves as a “Mobile Community Kitchen” in the Surrey area. (Photo: phoenixsociety.com)
New ‘Phoenix Flame BBQ’ truck now mobile with food for Surrey’s ‘hard-to-reach populations’

Also launched: Another Surrey Honda Raffle to help the Surrey-based agency and others

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

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

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read