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

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed peition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

(Black Press Media file photo)
Aggressive bus passenger arrested in Saanich for uttering threats

Suspect had outstanding warrant for assault at bus stop, two assaults on BC Transit buses

(Pixabay photo)
New program to provide recovery beds for at-risk Greater Victoria youth

It will aim to meet ‘health and social’ needs of wide range of youth

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria both have a MySafe machine to help reduce overdoses

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read