Rifles are shown locked up in Calgary, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Rifles are shown locked up in Calgary, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Trudeau government would allow municipalities to ban handguns under new bill

Bill also proposes a buyback of recently banned firearms the government considers assault-style weapon

Newly tabled gun legislation would allow municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation.

The Liberal government said Tuesday the measures would be backed up with serious penalties to enforce these bylaws, including jail time for people who violate municipal rules.

Under the plan, firearms licence holders would have to comply with handgun storage and transport restrictions in municipalities that pass bylaws.

Such bylaws could forbid keeping handguns at home, meaning they would have to be stored at a licensed business, or they might go further by outlawing handguns anywhere in a municipality.

Many gun-control advocates have called for a national handgun ban, warning that leaving it up to municipalities would create an ineffective patchwork of regulations.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, citing a recent uptick in gang-related shootings, promptly announced plans to ask city council to use the new powers, should they become law, to implement a handgun ban.

As expected, the bill also proposes a buyback of a wide array of recently banned firearms the government considers assault-style weapons.

Owners could turn in their guns for compensation but would also be able to keep them as long as they abide by strict conditions, including secure storage.

Under the rules, these guns could not be legally used, transported, sold, transferred or bequeathed by individuals in Canada.

They would become “virtually useless as a firearm,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said at a news conference, calling the federal plan “overwhelmingly the most effective way” to deal with the outlawed guns.

The government had faced pressure to make the buyback mandatory — like programs in Australia and New Zealand — to ensure as many banned guns as possible are turned in.

“This is a huge win for the gun lobby,” said Heidi Rathjen, a witness to the Ecole Polytechnique shooting massacre in 1989 who is co-ordinator of the group PolySeSouvient.

She called it an “easily reversible half-measure” that buys the gun lobby time to work toward election of the Conservatives, who oppose the ban.

Suzanne Laplante-Edward, whose daughter Anne-Marie was killed at Polytechnique, said the optional buyback was a total betrayal.

“My family and I have fought for three decades to ban these weapons,” she said.

“We thought we had won in the fall of 2019 when the Liberals announced with much pomp and circumstance that they would ban and buy back all of these killing machines. They lied to us. They lied to Canadians.”

Some gun owners strongly oppose the ban of some 1,500 firearm models and variants altogether and seek to overturn it through the courts.

Conservative public safety critic Shannon Stubbs accused the government of taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens, saying it “does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who obtain their guns illegally.”

The bill would also:

— Introduce new “red flag” and “yellow flag” laws that would allow people, such as concerned friends or relatives, to apply to the courts for the immediate removal of a person’s firearms, or to ask a chief firearms officer to suspend and review an individual’s licence to own guns;

— Target gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, and by boosting the capacity of the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency to combat the illegal importation of firearms;

— Create new offences for altering the cartridge magazine component of a gun and depicting violence in firearms advertising;

— Introduce tighter restrictions on imports of ammunition, and ensure the prohibition of imports, exports, sales and transfers of all replica firearms.

In Canada, no one should ever have to be afraid and action must be taken to prevent more tragedies, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“The right place to act is here, and the right time is now.”

READ MORE: Feds ban more than 1,500 assault-style rifles in Canada

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

gunsJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Kiara Robillard is seen in an undated handout photo. When the pandemic began, Robillard had to rush back home to Alberta from California, where she had been living for five years, after she was struck by a truck that broke her spine in two places. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kiara Robillard, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It kind of clicks:’ Text4Hope program helps with depression, anxiety during pandemic

Participants receive one text message every morning for three months

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Most Read