PM fires another blank

This week’s report is about Bill C-21: “An act to amend certain acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms).”

In May last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that “1,500 types of assault-style firearms” were being banned and that a buy-back plan was going to be introduced so owners of these newly restricted rifles would be able to “sell” them to the government at a yet-to-be-determined rate.

At the time, this announcement from the Prime Minister led to some confusion as military assault rifles in Canada have long been illegal.

Further, “assault style” has no legal definition within the Canada Firearms Act. It is a recently deployed piece of political rhetoric used to characterize 11 different types of semi-automatic rifles that can be ordered in up to 1,500 different variations from various manufacturers.

Why did the Prime Minister decide to ban these particular semi-automatic rifles?

In his words:

"These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada."

Bill C-21 is the legislation that further addresses these “assault style” rifles and proposes other firearms related measures as well.

What is most surprising about this bill is, contrary to commonly expressed opinion, it does not actually remove “assault style” weapons from within Canada.

Legal owners of these weapons can continue to own them however with new restrictions that include a ban on permitted use (none), no import, no further acquisition, no sale and no bequeathal.

Critics have questioned why, if the PM believes that there is “no place for such weapons in Canada,” is Bill C-21 proposing to allow these weapons to remain in Canada?

Another measure proposed in Bill C-21 is a measure that will allow municipalities to prohibit legal hand guns from being stored or transported anywhere within a municipality if a bylaw to that effect is passed.

Critics of this by-law, including one local mayor, have pointed out this is a form of downloading federal responsibilities onto municipalities.

From my perspective, considering guns are illegally smuggled across the Canada/United States border, it is unclear why Trudeau believes that criminals with illegal firearms would view a municipal border any differently.

As far as illegal gun smuggling, Bill C-21 is largely silent as most of the measures are proposed against legal gun owners with one exception.

Bill C-21 proposed to extend the maximum term of imprisonment from 10 years to 14 years for those convicted of illegally smuggling guns into Canada.

My concern with this measure is that gun-smuggling charges often occur well after the fact.

The need to be proactive and stop illegal guns from entering Canada should be a priority, not once again targeting legal gun owners.

While there are other measures in this bill, most building on already existing laws and regulations, this is a summary of the areas I have heard the majority of concern around.

My question this week:

  • Do you believe Bill C-21 will help stop illegal gun crime in Canada?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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