OTTAWA – Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair said implementing a national handgun ban is still on the table, and would not rule out issuing a federal order instead of legislation given the limited window of Parliamentary time.
In an interview on CTV’s Question Period, Blair was asked whether the handgun ban that the government had consulted on was still on the table, and if it’s possible it’ll be brought forward before the next election, or as part of the Liberal re-election campaign. He was also asked if it was something he was pushing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on, and if an Order in Council, essentially an order recommended by the executive branch, could be a way that a ban is brought forward.
Blair said that for him, “there is no greater responsibility than the safety of our communities and the safety of our kids,” and that he believes “it’s a view shared by my government.”
“I think there is no measure that I think we can rule out that will legitimately contribute to greater safety for our citizens,” Blair said.
Blair was mandated to study and consult on a full ban of handguns and assault weapons. After travelling the country holding roundtables and other public engagements starting in 2018, the government reported last month that Canadians are polarized on banning or limiting access to handguns and assault-style firearms.
Some anti-gun advocates have been pushing the federal Liberals to do more, especially in light of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern leading her country in implementing a ban on “military-style” semi-automatic firearms. This ban was in place one week after a gunman killed 51 people in Christchurch, while livestreaming the attack.
Trudeau was with Ardern in Paris to sign on to the "Christchurch Call" that saw social media giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter pledge to do more to prevent hate, violence, and extremist views from being broadcast or organized on their platforms.
Blair said he “believes strongly” that “there is more that we must do” when it comes to the kinds of guns that have been used in this, and other attacks.
“There are weapons that are designed solely to kill people. Their whole intent and purpose is to be efficient in the killing of people, and we’ve seen in mass murders in Canada around the world that those weapons have been used for that purpose because they are efficient killing machines and I feel very strongly that there’s no place for those weapons in Canadian society,” Blair said.
“I believe there is an overwhelming consensus in this country that public safety is important, that we deserve to be safe in our communities and in our places of worship, and those weapons which have been used to kill so many people have no place in our society.”