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

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Pamela Anderson was given a Ladysmith Heritage Award for the restoration work on the Arcady Auto Court property that she purchased from her grandparents. (Pamela Anderson photo)
PHOTOS: Star-studded Ladysmith Heritage Awards honour local commitments to heritage

Barrie McDonald, Pamela Anderson, John & Luke Marston, and the Ladysmith Maritime Society recognized

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

The Ladysmith Museum has two new exhibits open to the public. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith museum opens up with two new exhibits

The museum is featuring Prime Predators of Vancouver Island and ‘Red Flag, Red Flag’

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read