Justin Trudeau’s government will move forward with a sweeping ban on semi-automatic firearms, and the announcement could come by the end of the week according to unnamed government officials who spoke to Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper. The anonymous officials told reporters that most of the details have already been approved by Trudeau’s cabinet, and while additional gun control legislation is planned, the gun ban itself will be imposed without a vote in Parliament.
In last year’s election campaign, the Liberals promised to ban military-style assault weapons, allow municipalities to ban handguns on their territory and bring in a series of new laws to restrict access to illegal weapons, among other elements. In addition, the Liberals said they would create a buyback program to require the owners of newly banned firearms to sell them back to the government.
The Liberals placed an estimated price tag of $250-million on the program in the election campaign, but critics said the final tab will likely be much higher to reflect the market value of the weapons. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said earlier this year that the buyback program could come later than the ban.
The banning of firearms can be done by a decision of cabinet called an order-in-council and does not require the adoption of new legislation. There is no exact definition of a military-style firearm, which means the government’s decision is based on science as well as political choices.
Despite the claim by the Globe & Mail, there’s nothing “scientific” about the ban that’s coming from the Trudeau government. This is entirely a political decision, and the recent murders of nearly two dozen people in Nova Scotia has given Trudeau the political cover he needs to announce the ban, even though the facts of the case in Nova Scotia don’t add any weight to the idea that banning law-abiding Canadians from owning some of the most common rifles sold today will prevent future tragedies.
The RCMP has already said that the killer in Nova Scotia didn’t legally own the guns used in his attacks, and the fact that he also had access to an RCMP uniform and a car tricked out to look just like an RCMP vehicle allowed him to carry out his crime spree over more than twelve hours. There’s also been a lot of criticism directed at the RCMP for not issuing an emergency alert while the attack was ongoing, instead relying on social media platforms like Twitter to try to keep the public updated.
Trudeau’s expected announcement about a gun ban will turn the media and public’s attention away from any failures of the RCMP to protect the people of Nova Scotia. Instead, virtually all of the conversation will now revolve around gun control and the action by Trudeau to avoid a parliamentary vote on the ban. That may suit the Liberals just fine, but it won’t do anything at all to make Canadians any safer.