We reported earlier today that Canada’s Liberal Party was soon to unveil its plan for a gun ban, and just a few hours after our story appeared, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it official.
Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We will ban all military-style assault rifles, give municipalities the ability to restrict or ban handguns, and strengthen gun control. pic.twitter.com/NvX0IBtAU5
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 20, 2019
Trudeau is going full Beto and demanding a compensated confiscation of legally owned firearms, according to a CBC report.
A Liberal government also would create a buyback program for all semi-automatic assault rifles that were legally purchased, offering owners a fair market price for their weapons and giving law enforcement agencies resources to administer the program. A two-year amnesty would be put in place while the program is being set up.
Bill Blair, who served as the government’s pointman on gun control, said there are about 250,000 of the weapons now legally owned, with an average value of about $1,500 each. The buyback program is expected to cost between $400 million and $600 million, he said.
I think the so-called “assault weapons ban” was expected, but the move to change federal law to allow municipalities to ban handguns took me a little by surprise. This is clearly aimed at voters in Toronto (and to a lesser extent Vancouver) where rising gang violence has shaken the confidence of some voters in the ruling Liberal Party. If approved, I suspect you’d quickly see cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver adopt gun bans, along with smaller towns in the suburbs of the country’s biggest cities.
The cynic in me suspects that Trudeau was holding back this announcement until he really needed it. He told Bill Blair to go investigate the possibility of banning handguns and semi-automatic firearms last August. Blair reported his recommendations to Trudeau this past April. Why wait until now to announce this policy, unless you suspected or knew that closer to the election something really awful was going to come out about you, and you’d better keep a distraction in your back pocket? Even the left-wing Guardian newspaper calls it an attempt to shift attention from his blackface scandal.
This will likely prove to be a popular move in Canada’s most populated areas, but it’s also likely to wreak havok on the chances of Liberals gaining or maintaining seats in more rural districts. It will also unfortunately greatly exacerbate the rural-urban divide in Canada, but I’m sure Trudeau considers that a small price to pay in exchange for headlines about him banning guns instead of stories about him donning blackface.
As to the effectiveness of such a ban, the guns Trudeau wants handed over aren’t used in a lot of crime. They’re also no longer registered with the federal government in Canada, though an old copy of the 2012 registry may still exist despite an order to destroy it. Still, enforcement of this law, if Trudeau gets his way, is likely to be incredibly difficult.
That hasn’t stopped Trudeau’s fellow Liberals from jumping on board, of course, including MP Bill Morneau, who represents a portion of Toronto.
Gun crime in Canada is on the rise, and Andrew Scheer thinks we need less gun control. Canadians are losing their loved ones to gun violence, and we need to do more – not less. Liberals will ban assault rifles in Canada, Conservatives will take us backwards. https://t.co/Cir9myEKee
— Bill Morneau (@Bill_Morneau) September 20, 2019
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party’s Andrew Scheer says the focus should be on going after violent criminals.
Canada’s gun laws should target criminals and guns used to commit crimes, not responsible, law-abiding gun owners. That’s exactly what the second pillar of my plan for a safer Canada does. pic.twitter.com/RUEheB1QuO
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) November 23, 2018
Canada’s elections are October 21st, so expect Trudeau to run hard on this issue over the next month. What kind of impact might it have on the gun control debate in the U.S.? We’ll likely see many Democrat candidates for president point to Trudeau’s plan as something we ought to be doing here, though most of them won’t mention the part about cities being able to ban handguns, since that’s off the table (for now, anyway) thanks to the Heller decision. I don’t think Trudeau’s big announcement is going to change any votes in the U.S. Senate, however. And as of right now, it remains to be seen if there will be any votes on gun bills in the Senate at all.