Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Sunday, May 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Trudeau says legislation on municipal handgun bans coming

Trudeau acknowledged his government has more work to do when it comes to guns in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his assault-rifle ban on Sunday and promised to go even further by targeting handguns and tightening border security with new legislation introduced in the Parliament.

Yet he stopped short of providing a timeline for when such measures would be introduced, saying only that the federal Liberal government would move forward with legislation “when Parliament allows.”

The comments came during the prime minister’s daily COVID-19 news conference after the government on Friday outlawed a wide range of assault-style weapons. The ban did not require parliamentary approval and was instead published in regulations in the Canada Gazette.

Some have said the ban doesn’t go far enough and should include handguns while others have argued that it targets legal gun owners and that Ottawa should instead focus on the smuggling of illegal weapons at the border and stronger jail sentences.

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

Trudeau acknowledged his government has more work to do when it comes to guns in Canada, which was why it was working on legislation that will deal with the border, gun storage and handguns.

Exactly when will that legislation be introduced, however, appears to be anyone’s guess.

“We know there is more to do on strengthening gun control in this country which is why we’re going to be moving forward when Parliament allows it with stronger measures around borders, stronger measures around safe storage,” Trudeau said.

“Measures around handguns to permit municipalities to ban handguns within their city limits.”

Legislation will also need to be introduced around a two-year amnesty and a buyback program that will allow the current owners of assault rifles covered by Friday’s ban to receive compensation for turning in the designated firearms or keep them through a grandfathering process.

The Liberal government will move forward on that front “at the first opportunity when the House turns its attention to things other than” COVID-19, Trudeau said.

The House of Commons has limited its sitting to one in-person and two virtual per week due to the pandemic.

The assault-rifle ban came only weeks after one of the deadliest mass shootings in Canadian history, when a man dressed as an RCMP officer killed 22 people in Nova Scotia on April 18 and 19. Police have indicated the man had two rifles and several handguns on his possession at the time.

READ MORE: Ontario’s premier takes aim at Trudeau government’s gun control measures

Some have accused the prime minister of using the tragedy to instigate a ban while Parliament is largely consumed with the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have questioned why the government waited so long.

The Liberals promised in the last election campaign to ban assault rifles and introduce legislation allowing cities to ban handguns.

Trudeau refused to apologize for the ban after Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Saturday said it targeted legal gun owners. He suggested Ottawa should instead focus on smuggling of illegal weapons at the border and strengthening jail sentences for gun crimes.

“We’ve seen far too many mass shootings in which military-style-assault weapons were used to kill innocent Canadians. In Sainte-Foy. Recently in Nova Scotia. Back at l’Ecole Polytechnique 30 years ago,” Trudeau said.

“We’ve seen far too many cases in which these guns have caused devastation to families and communities. That’s why it was time to ban them. This is something that we were able to do through regulations so it didn’t require legislation.”

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Gun banJustin Trudeau

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

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Flooding highly unlikely this year throughout Skeena watershed

Region’s snowpack among lowest in the province

BC Transit focused on making buses safer and more comfortable in Phase Two of BC’s Restart Plan

All Terrace buses will have vinyl barriers to protect drivers by June 1

Student food pack demand soars because of school closure

Starfish program now delivers food to students’ homes

Regional district puts COVID-19 safeguards in place

Meeting today will be by tele-conference

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read