Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is committed to allowing cities ban handguns in the new year, despite growing protests and opposition from several Canadian provinces, as well as criticism from gun control groups who want a nationwide ban on handguns instead.
The group PolySeSouvient, a leading voice for gun control, is pushing for a truly national handgun ban, arguing local ones are generally ineffective, as what it calls the “disastrous patchwork of local and state laws” in the United States demonstrates.
Local bans would also have to overcome “enormous obstacles,” including provincial governments ideologically opposed to gun control and an array of legal and jurisdictional complexities, the group recently warned in a letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has already signaled opposition to banning handguns despite support for the idea from Toronto Mayor John Tory.
Trudeau is warning provinces that resistance is futile, issuing a vague promise to use “other tools” to empower cities to ban handguns if their provincial governments object.
The federal government’s preference is to hand some powers over firearms to the provinces, which would in turn allow for municipal regulation, Trudeau said.
“In some situations, we may have a province that is unwilling to do that despite the willingness of a city or cities to do that,” he said. “At which point, I have been assured, there are other tools we can use that wouldn’t be as ideal, because it would involve disagreements with the provinces at a time where we want to be collaborative.”
Trudeau sounds an awful lot like Virginia governor Ralph Northam and the state’s attorney general, both of whom have warned of consequences for counties and towns that don’t enforce any new gun control laws approved in the upcoming legislative session. What is it with blackface-wearing politicians and their love of gun control?
In addition to the local handgun bans, Trudeau says his government is still committed to a nationwide ban on semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, and pistols arbitrarily defined as “assault weapons.”
They promise to move quickly on a commitment to outlaw assault-style firearms, including the popular AR-15, saying guns designed to inflict mass casualties have no place in Canada. Owners of legally purchased firearms that fall under the ban will be offered fair-market prices through a buyback program.
The prime minister played down the notion his government’s minority status affords little time to usher in tighter gun control.
“Our primary concern is getting it right,” he said. “But even in a minority situation we’ve seen that there is a very clear consensus from three of the parties in the House — us, the NDP and the Bloc — that moving forward on much stronger gun control is a priority.”
As columnist Matt Gurney with the National Post writes, most of the guns used in crime in Canada are smuggled in to the country via the black market, but Trudeau’s Liberal government is more interested in cracking down on legal gun owners than gang members.
The progressive dislike of handguns and certain kinds of rifles in Canada isn’t a public policy issue. It’s an ideological preference. Millions of Canadians do not understand how tight our laws already are, how they could be reasonably improved, have no interest in shooting sports and cannot fathom why anyone would feel differently. They’d rather live in a country with fewer guns. For a brief moment last year, there was a news story that gave their cause ammunition, but even when that story was completely debunked, the focus on legal guns remained. This isn’t about gun control. It’s dislike for guns and gun owners.
We’re watching that same dynamic at work in the United States as well, unfortunately. Gun control advocates are using gang and drug-related violence to push for restrictions on legal gun owners, hoping that it will have some sort of trickle-down effect on violent criminals. When their efforts fail, anti-gun politicians will simply claim that their previous gun control efforts didn’t go far enough, and push for another round of legislation targeting lawful gun owners. It’s a vicious cycle that empowers criminals and enfeebles individual rights, but at least politicians can say they did “something.”