OTTAWA – The federal government is set to introduce a much-anticipated and potentially controversial gun control bill early next week that will include measures to boost screening for prospective gun owners CTV News has learned.

Government sources tell CTV News’ Don Martin that the bill, expected to be tabled Tuesday, will take aim at keeping firearms away from people with mental illness, and out of the hands of those with violent backgrounds.

It is also expected to force gun shop retailers to validate a gun licence before completing the purchase, and to keep the name of gun buyers on file.

The coming legislation will also leave it to police to make the call on which currently restricted weapons should be put on the prohibition list.

In November, survivors and family members of victims of gun violence came to Parliament Hill to call on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to get on with bringing forward tougher gun laws, as promised during the 2015 election campaign.

Late last year a spokesperson for Goodale told CTV News that "in the near future" the minister will introduce legislation consistent with what was pledged during the campaign: a multi-pronged plan to “take pragmatic action” and make it harder for criminals to get and use handguns and assault weapons.”

The Liberal platform promises included:

  • repealing changes made by the previous Conservative government around the transportation of restricted and prohibited weapons without a permit
  • requiring enhanced background checks for people seeking to buy a handgun or other restricted firearms
  • ensuring people who want to buy a firearm show a validated licence
  • having firearm sellers keep records of gun inventory and sales

There were 2,076,840 individual firearm licence holders in Canada as of Dec. 31, 2016, according to the RCMP’s 2016 Commissioner of Firearms report.

With files from CTV Power Play host Don Martin