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

Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church at 35063 Page Rd. in Abbotsford was among three Fraser Valley churches that the B.C. government tried to get a court injunction against for holding in-person services. (Google Maps)
B.C. churches in court to attempt to overturn ban on in-person services

A judge will hear arguments Monday through Wednesday

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition after Harrison Mills incident, homicide investigators deployed

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Hospital outbreaks included in Fraser Health update Feb. 28, 2021. (Black Press file)
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreaks at Chilliwack General and Surrey Memorial

The medicine units are temporarily closed but ERs remain open, according to Fraser Health update

Chilliwack's David Leger couldn't see Mt. Cheam for all the smog back in 1998, and that led him to eventually found Loop Energy, a pioneer in hydrogen fuel-cell technology. (Facebook photo)
Loop Energy: How a humble Chilliwack startup became a multi-million dollar fuel cell pioneer

This is part 1 of a 3-part series on the rise of Loop Energy, now being traded publically on the TSX

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

A GoFundMe campaign for Riley Stevens and his family has raised more than $5,700 since launching last week. (Contributed photo)
White Rock mom of sick tot ‘totally blown away’ by donations, offers help

GoFundMe campaign to help family of Riley Stevens crests $5,700

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent must come first and last for B.C. industrial projects

UN declaration seen as end to a history of horror stories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE  - In this Friday, Jan 1, 2021 file photo, a lorry driver's documents are scanned on a phone as he passes a checkpoint for the train through the Eurotunnel link with Europe in Folkestone, England. One month after Britain made a New Year split from the European Union's economic embrace, businesses that once traded freely are getting used to frustrating checks, delays and red tape. Meat exporters say shipments have rotted in trucks awaiting European health checks. Scottish fishermen have protested at Parliament over the catch they can no longer sell to the continent because of byzantine new paperwork. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
FINLAYSON: Government should focus on strengthening B.C.’s leading export industries

To revive the economy, this piece in the strategy is integral, writes Jock Finlayson

Most Read