The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau introduced new legislation to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act that he hopes “will make communities safer while respecting law-abiding gun owners.”
The release from the Prime Ministers Office says through the proposed legislation and other measures, the government would:
- “Combat intimate partner and gender-based violence, and self-harm involving firearms by creating “red flag” and “yellow flag” laws. These laws would allow people, such as concerned friends or relatives, to apply to the courts for the immediate removal of an individual’s firearms, or to ask a Chief Firearms Officer to suspend and review an individual’s license to own firearms.” Commentary: This is potentially very concerning for gun-owners as it allows bitter and resentful individuals such as ex-wives and husbands, bitter friends and relatives to report them to the courts. Although sometimes this can be merited – the court process in itself can be a punishment.
- “Fight gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, and by enhancing the capacity of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency to combat the illegal importation of firearms.” Commentary: I am all for this measure. Increasing criminal penalties and enhancing the capacity of the RCMP and Canada Border Services to combat illegal importation is a good idea – presuming you don’t trample on gun-owners rights in your own country during the process.
- Help create safer communities by supporting municipalities that ban handguns through by-laws restricting storage and transportation in their jurisdictions. Individuals who violate these municipal by-laws would be subject to federal penalties, including licence revocation and criminal sanctions. Commentary: This is a terrible idea. It violates one’s right to peacefully live without government intrusion – something that gun-owners are already subject to through Canada’s rigorous licensing process. By enacting this piece of legislation, Prime Minister Trudeau creates a paradox where gun-owners in certain jurisdictions may be forced to store their handgun(s) outside of their city or be fined and face licence removal and criminal sanctions if found to violate these potential municipal by-laws.
- Give young people the opportunities and resources they need to avoid criminal behaviour by providing funding to municipalities and Indigenous communities to support youth programs. Commentary: The devil is always in the details in regards to government funding. Provided this is organized with a clear way to support youth programs that bring value to their communities – it’s likely worth supporting.
- Protect Canadians from gun violence by creating 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. Commentary: I’d be curious to know what passed for “depicting violence” in firearms advertising.
- Complete the prohibition of assault-style firearms to ensure these weapons cannot be legally used, transported, sold, transferred, or bequeathed by individuals in Canada. We also intend to move forward with a buyback program in the coming months to support the safe removal of these firearms from our communities. Commentary: The whole “assault-style firearms” ban was ridiculous in the first place. Now they intend to move forward with a buyback program? Does the Prime Minister not remember the giant protest on Parliament Hill against his “assault weapon ban”?
Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights on the “new measures”
The CCFR said that “Under the Liberal party of Justin Trudeau and Bill Blair, public safety has become a purely political issue. They rarely miss an opportunity to divide Canadians along cultural, political or ideological lines.”
About Red Flag provisions – “The red flag provisions in this bill can potentially be problematic. Red flag laws have existed in Canada since the 90s. Now, in this new bill, anyone at all can petition a judge to issue a firearm prohibition
order without the gun owner having any say in the matter or even tell their side of the story. These prohibition orders include searches with and without a warrant. This change affects 2.2 million licensed gun owners in Canada.
Magazine capacity – “The bill creates a new offense of altering a cartridge magazine. The law that makes possession of an over capacity magazine still exists. Apparently, it is now doubly illegal to have an over capacity magazine.”
On the Municipal by-law: The Liberals are creating a criminal offense of not complying with a municipal bylaw. The idea that farm-related violence will decrease because sport shooters cannot store their firearms at home is
absurd and an attempt by municipal leaders to escape accountability for their failure on stopping violence in their jurisdictions. The most egregious part is that they are punishing specifically the people that are not involved in that violence.
Quote from Prime Minister Trudeau
“One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many. The tragedies we have seen in Ste-Foy and Portapique, and more recently in Toronto and Montréal, should never happen. This is why our government has taken some of the strongest action in our country’s history against gun violence. We will continue to take steps to strengthen gun control measures, remove dangerous weapons from our streets, and make sure everyone can feel safe from violence.”
—Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Quote from Bill Blair
“Too many Canadians have been killed or injured because of gun violence, and we need to take every reasonable step to stop more Canadians from suffering the same fate. These concrete measures we’re announcing today build on actions already taken to address some of the most serious firearms safety issues and are part of our government’s detailed firearms strategy that will help make our communities safer for everyone.”
—Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Other quick facts
1.) The Minister of Justice will conduct a review of firearms classification. It’s always concerning when the Trudeau Liberals examine anything to do with firearms. The Minister will also look into “modernizing language in the regulation and the Criminal Code with respect to prohibited weapons, devices, and ammunition to close gaps in the law.”
2.) “There were over 99,000 victims of intimate partner violence in Canada in 2018, and firearms were present in over 500 of these incidents. Women accounted for almost eight in 10 victims of all intimate partner violence incidents, and they were even more likely to be the victim in incidents where a firearm was present.”
June 2019 legislation will soon come into force
In June of 2019, new legislation on firearms received Royal Assent and many measures will soon come into force. The 2019 legislation includes what the government says are “practical, targeted, and measured steps to keep Canadians safe” these include:
- Expanded background checks that consider the applicant’s lifetime history, not just the preceding five years.
- Sellers will be required to verify the validity of a firearms licence before selling a non-restricted firearm.
- Helping police trace guns used in crimes by requiring businesses to keep point-of-sale records for non-restricted firearms.
- Authorization to be required to transport restricted and prohibited firearms to locations other than the range (e.g. gunsmith, gun show, etc.) through strengthened transportation requirements.
- The government says that they are “Safeguarding the impartial classification of firearms by putting the responsibility in the hands of technical experts, who make these determinations based on the Criminal Code.”
Prime Minister Trudeau said that he will continue to “take steps to strengthen gun control measures.” This was accompanied by Minister Bill Blair who said that the government needs to “take every reasonable step to stop more Canadians from suffering the same fate” when referring to those injured or killed by gun violence.
I find it ironic that Trudeau has hinted more measures will continue to come on gun control – as if he hasn’t already trampled all over gun-owners rights here in Canada. Most gun-owners would be quick to support stronger measures at the border for gun-smuggling – but creating situations where someone’s postal code could see the removal of their firearm(s) or force them to store them in a completely different city is anything but reasonable.
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