Gun control advocates say time is running out for Ottawa to act
Gun control groups representing those affected by some of Canada’s worst mass shootings say time is running out for the federal government to ban handguns and assault weapons before the 2019 election.
In 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a pledge to “get handguns and assault weapons off ours streets.”
But groups representing the survivors and family members of those killed in 1989 massacre at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique, the 2006 shooting at Dawson College and last year’s attack on the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre are expressing concern that the federal Liberals will give into pressure from gun rights groups and put off a ban indefinitely.
Jean-Francois Larivee, who married Maryse Laganiere just three months before she and 13 other women were shot and killed at the Polytechnique, has pushing for gun control for three decades.
“It touches me deep inside to know that the gun that killed my wife Maryse is still available as a non-restricted weapon,” he said.
Montreal and Toronto city councils have also called on Ottawa to implement a ban on handguns and assault weapons.
In the wake of a spate of deadly shootings in Toronto this summer, including a mass shooting in the city’s Greektown in July that killed an 18-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl, Border Security Minister Bill Blair launched a national invitation-only consultation on a possible handgun ban.
Blair said that he expects his consultations to be completed by the end of the year and plans to issue a report in early 2019.
“I intend to complete it and make recommendations based on the evidence and the testimony that we obtain,” he said.
Gun control advocates say that may be too late to get legislation through Parliament before an election slated to happen no later than Oct. 21, 2019.
Not everyone supports a ban. Tracey Wilson from the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, says that law-abiding duck hunters and target shooters shouldn’t be punished by any new legislation.
“Coming into my home and getting them by force out of my cabinet does not equate to getting them off the street,” Wilson said.
“Let’s concentrate on the crime and work on the gang problem,” she added.
A Nanos Research survey conducted for CTV News in September found that a total ban on handgun ownership in Canada would enjoy support from 48 per cent of Canadians.
With a report from CTV Montreal bureau chief Genevieve Beauchemin