New restrictions on handguns expected in federal gun control bill today

New measures to restrict handguns are set to be a central part of federal legislation tabled this afternoon, the latest – and probably the boldest – set of measures proposed by the Liberal government to control access to guns. on fire in Canada.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino will introduce the bill after the daily question period before joining Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and voices of support, including some mayors from across the country, for a press conference at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa.

The legislation will revive some federal measures that were not passed before last year’s general election and flesh out new proposals made in the subsequent campaign.

They include a mandatory buy-back of firearms the government deems assault-type firearms, a crackdown on high-capacity firearm magazines, and efforts to crack down on firearm smuggling.

The Liberals have also promised to work with provinces and territories that want to ban handguns outright.

Although a nationwide ban is not provided for in the bill, the government could take steps in this direction by phasing out handgun ownership with a cap on the number of gun licenses, by banning the import and manufacture of new handguns or adopting stricter storage rules.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, seen here during a press conference on February 15, 2022 in Ottawa, will introduce the bill after the daily question period. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Prominent gun control advocacy group PolySeSouvient has criticized the government’s approach of leaving handgun bans to individual provinces, saying it would create an ineffective patchwork of rules in Canada.

Trudeau defended the approach last week, citing “a range of opinions and views across the country.”

Speaking about the Robb Elementary School shooting that killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, Trudeau said Canadians are “remarkably united” in their drive to reduce gun violence” at home.

“This unity is what we will be pushing forward as we take further action in the weeks ahead on gun control,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Saskatchewan last Tuesday.

Gun control advocates call for more reform

A ban on ‘assault-style’ firearms – the government’s flagship gun control promise to date – involves moving forward with a mandatory buy-back of models the government banned in May 2020.

The plan has been welcomed by gun control advocates, but Tory MPs and others opposed to the plan have suggested it targets legitimate gun owners rather than preventing guns illegal from falling into the wrong hands.

The buyout will cover some 1,500 firearm models that the government has banned by decree on the grounds that they have no place in hunting or sport shooting.

But some similar models remain legal, and gun control advocates say Canadian manufacturers have managed to sidestep the rules by introducing new guns.

PolySeSouvient has urged the government to change the firearms classification system to eliminate loopholes and capture all current and future weapons that fall into the category.

Several women’s groups also implored the government to remove a provision from the previous version of the bill that called on potential victims to seek a court order to deprive a stalker or abuser of their weapons.

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The National Association of Women and the Law and several other groups warned in a letter to Mendicino this month that the so-called red flag provision downloads gun law enforcement responsibility from authorities over others, including possible targets of violence.

“There is no support for downloading or eroding the responsibility of law enforcement and other government officials to implement gun laws,” the letter said.

‚ÄúCitizens or other organisations, let alone potential victims, should not expect to put themselves at risk by going to court to seek action which should be immediate and under the direct responsibility of the police. “