At a recent press conference, Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson Constable Rob Carver said the following about handgun bans: “It won’t make any difference whatsoever. When we seize handguns, the handguns are always, almost 100 per cent, in the possession of people who have no legal right to possess them. They’re almost always stolen or illegally obtained.”
He went on to say: “I guess it might make some people feel good, but it will not change the threat level one iota.”
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has also said that they do not support a handgun ban.
The fact is the vast majority of firearms owners respect Canada’s gun laws. It’s criminals who do not. While it may be much harder to go after gangs and illegal gun traffickers, that is precisely what this government should be doing to make Canadians safer. However, whenever Liberals talk about gun violence, they always fail to address the issue and end up going after law-abiding firearms owners instead.
This was made crystal clear with the Liberal backdoor firearms registry Bill C-71, and was made even clearer when the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness included orders to ban and buyback all "military-style assault rifles" and “work with provinces and territories to give municipalities the ability to further restrict or ban handguns.”
Not only that, but when answering questions from the media in December, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair let slip that the Liberals may use an Order in Council to ban what they call "military-style assault rifles", allowing the Liberals to implement the ban without any debate, study or vote in the House of Commons.
This, despite the fact that experts have said all along that blanket bans won’t work and that the best way to make Canada safer is to tackle criminals and gangs who use illegal weapons to commit violent crimes. The provincial governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta have all also said that they oppose blanket firearms ban.
Even Minister Blair, the one that the Prime Minister has put in charge of implementing these bans, has said in the past that he does not believe a handgun ban will prevent criminals from accessing handguns, telling the Globe and Mail: “It would not, in my opinion, be perhaps the most effective measure in restricting the access that criminals would have to such weapons, because we’d still have a problem with them being smuggled across the border.”
If only Justin Trudeau would listen to the experts, go after the real problem and stop needlessly targeting our law-abiding firearms owners.
I know many in the outdoor community are concerned about these blanket bans. My colleague Glen Motz, Associate Shadow Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, recently sponsored an e-petition in response to the proposed Order in Council to ban "military-style assault rifles".
In just over a month it has already received more than 90,000 signatures. If you want to add your name, please visit https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2341. The petition will be closed for signatures on February 15.
We stand up for lawful firearms owners and only wish the Liberal government would too.
Bob Zimmer is Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.