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431-00181 (Public safety)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

WHEREAS

  • The Liberal government's December 5, 2019, Speech from the Throne contains numerous inaccuracies about current firearms legislation and regulation;
  • The term "military-style assault rifles" is a political phrase undefined in Canadian law;
  • Municipalities are constitutionally unable to enact criminal law to ban handguns in their jurisdictions;
  • The experts, including Chiefs of Police in Canada's largest cities, agree banning firearms and requiring law abiding gun owners to follow more unnecessary red tape will not increase public safety;
  • The majority of guns used in violent crime are smuggled into Canada from the United States;
  • The Liberal government continues to target law-abiding firearms owners instead of the gangs, drug traffickers, and illegal gun traffickers responsible for violence in our communities;

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to stop targeting law-abiding firearms owners, cancel all plans to confiscate firearms legally owned by federally-licensed, RCMP-vetted Canadians, and focus their limited resources on anti-gang enforcement, on reducing the involvement of at-risk youth in gang violence, and on providing the Canada Border Services Agency with the tools needed to stop the flow of illegal guns into our country.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Joël Lightbound, M.P

Canadians deserve to live in a society where they can feel safe and secure from gun violence. These weapons have no legitimate civilian use, as they are designed to take as many lives as possible, as efficiently as possible. As of May 1st, the market for these dangerous weapons, which have been used to kill innocent Canadians, is closed.

For decades chiefs of police had been advocating for additional restrictions, and even a prohibition, of military-style assault rifles. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police previously passed a resolution declaring that military assault rifles were produced for the “sole purpose of killing people in large numbers” and asked the Minister of Justice to “ban all military assault rifles except for law enforcement and military purposes.” Last September the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police expressed support for a prohibition on all military-designed assault rifles, averring that “these weapons have no place in our communities and should be reserved for use by Canada’s military and law enforcement.” Following the prohibition of these weapons, Toronto’s police chief also declared that “taking military assault style rifles off the streets contributes to public safety.”

We have been clear that our prohibition will not impact the activities of law-abiding hunters or sport shooters. We have also signalled our intent to implement a buyback program that will provide fair compensation to affected owners. We are looking at a range of options, and will work with Parliament as well as the provinces and territories to get this right for law-abiding gun owners and businesses.

While the prohibition is a crucial first step, it is only one of a series of measures that we will to take to target firearm-related crime in this country.  At the first opportunity we will introduce legislation that will strengthen gun control.  We intend to introduce a red-flag regime in order to better protect public safety, strengthen firearms storage requirements to deter theft, enhance police tracing capacity, and work with our partners from other levels of government to give municipalities the ability to further restrict handguns. 

We are also committed to combatting gun-related violence and gang activities and to strengthening border security, and increasing police anti-gang capacities. This will build on work that is already underway.

We announced funding of up to $327.6 million over five years through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (the Initiative) to combat gun-related violence and gang activities, including by supporting law enforcement and community-led projects focused on prevention.

More than $200 million is now flowing directly to the provinces and territories to target initiatives that best meet the unique needs of individual communities to advance efforts in areas of prevention, gang exit, outreach and awareness training as well as enhanced intelligence sharing and law enforcement capacity. With the funding allocations, jurisdictions have made investments to support new law enforcement activities including specialized training and education initiatives and improving data collection and information sharing. PTs have also prioritized a number of prevention intervention initiatives. Building on these achievements, our Government has committed to investing additional funding to help municipalities meet the needs of communities at risk to fight gang-related violence and expand diversion programs to keep youth out of the criminal justice system.

The Government knows that the cross-border smuggling of firearms also poses a threat to the safety and security of Canadians. We are committed to taking action to prevent smuggled guns from entering Canada. We will introduce tougher penalties for trafficking and smuggling offences and will continue to make important investments in the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to strengthen border controls and reduce the number of guns being smuggled across the our borders. These initiatives will build on work that is already underway.

The CBSA is receiving $51.5 million over five years through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence to enhance its capacity to stem the flow of inadmissible travellers and illegal firearms entering Canada at vulnerable points of entry and through postal facilities. It is also procuring equipment to enhance air cargo security and pallet imaging, intelligence collection and production abilities, and improving border operations through measures aimed at enhancing the CBSA’s capacity to detect and interdict illegal firearms at the border. The CBSA continues to work with key domestic and US law enforcement partners to generate leads, as well as support and assist with interdiction efforts.

In addition, the RCMP is receiving $34.5 million through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence to enhance its capacity to conduct investigations related to the criminal use of firearms as well as to provide law enforcement with enhanced access to training, technology and data to keep illicit firearms out of Canada and detect and report on criminal gang activities. The RCMP has created the Integrated Criminal Firearms Initiative to expand and enhance existing services available to support firearms investigations nationwide. This includes providing anonymous online capabilities to investigate firearms trafficking and smuggling, conducting physical firearms inspections, enhancing analytical capacity to develop and produce actionable intelligence, and supporting stakeholder outreach among partners to advance focused initiatives. The RCMP is also prioritizing strategic intelligence analysis related to street gangs and the procurement of advanced technologies to expedite and further support the analysis of ballistics and illicit manufacturing of firearms. 

Going forward, we will work with our partners from other levels of government to give municipalities the ability to further restrict handguns in a manner that respects the authorities of all jurisdictions. We will continue working to enhance public safety by focusing on prevention, effective law enforcement and strong community partnerships.

Presented to the House of Commons
Brad Vis (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
May 12, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00181)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - Brad Vis
Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon
Conservative Caucus
British Columbia

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