Starts with the Guns then our freedoms.
The Liberal government is considering a ban on assault rifles as well as handguns within “certain locations” like cities and urban municipalities, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has disclosed.
Goodale made the comment last week during a speech to the Canadian Association of Police Governance in Winnipeg, where he outlined measures the government has taken so far to fulfill Liberal gun control commitments.
After a rundown of new controls on restricted rifles contained in legislation that reached its final stage of debate in the Commons last June, Goodale listed further proposals for restricted handguns and rifles that emerged during the preparation of the bill covering rifles and shotguns.
“And most recently, of course, we have the proposal from the families of the victims of the Mosque shooting in Quebec, and now from Toronto City Council, calling for an outright ban on the possession and use of certain specific weapons – at least in certain locations, like within an urban municipality,” Goodale told a conference of the national association of police oversight bodies.
“The Government of Canada has undertaken to examine all these issues from the perspective of both effectiveness and fairness,” Goodale said.
A spokesperson for Goodale confirmed the reference to “certain specific weapons” covered both handguns and assault rifles, following a request for a ban on assault rifles from leaders of a Quebec City Mosque where a gunman killed six people during prayers on the evening of Jan. 29, 2017.
The shooter, 28-year-old Alexandre Bissonette, later pleaded guilty to six counts of murder.
During committee hearings into Bill C-71, the legislation proposing to reinstate controls on sales of rifles and shotguns that were repealed by the former Conservative government, a prominent Montreal gun-control advocacy group, Polysesouvient, also called for a ban on assault rifles.
The group was formed to fight gun violence following the 1989 shooting deaths of 14 women at Montreal’s Polytechnique engineering school.
Gun lobby groups and firearm arms dispute the term “assault rifle” being used to describe semi-automatic rifles that cannot legally fire bullets repeatedly with one squeeze of the rifle’s trigger, but in the ‘black rifle’ firearm vogue of today, even non-restricted rifles appear as menacing as a machine gun.
Toronto City Council voted last week to ask Ottawa to ban handgun sales in the city and called on the new Conservative government of Ontario to ban ammunition for handguns in the city,
Montreal city council is set to debate a motion next week that would urge the federal government to ban handguns and assault guns.
“Long before this ‘summer of the gun’ and the Danforth (site of the Toronto shootings), we have been at work on a package of measures that will enhance public safety, support police investigations, strengthen border interdictions of crime guns, better combat gangs, and not impinge in any unfair way on ordinary, law-abiding firearm owners,” says a text of Goodale’s remarks posted on Public Safety Canada’s website on Tuesday.
Goodale delivered his speech the day before a gunman shot and killed two police officers and two civilians in a violent shooting spree from the window of his apartment in Fredericton last Friday.
The remarks to the police governance association were open to news media, but a media advisory was only distributed locally, said Goodale spokesman Scott Bardsley.
When the Quebec City Mosque Cultural Centre first asked for a ban on assault rifles – initially in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – Goodale said it would be difficult to implement.
“What would be proposed here is a complete renovation of the classification system in the Criminal Code, and that is a pretty massive undertaking,” Goodale told reporters at the first Commons committee hearing into Bill C-71.
A constitutional lawyer who is also a specialist in firearms law, Ottawa defense lawyer Solomon Friedman, told iPolitics last week the federal government’s criminal law powers under Canada’s original constitution would mean only Ottawa would have the constitutional authority to ban or prohibit handguns within the limits of a specified city.