Liberal minister says police chiefs support gun ban
Correction (Dec. 12): The original version of this story incorrectly asserted that Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair was speaking about the Liberals’ proposed handgun ban in Parliament last week. The minister’s office did not respond to requests for comment before the story was published, but reached out to a former Post Millennial editor’s inactive email account to ask for a correction. As soon as The Post Millennial was reached on Monday the correction was issued. We regret the error.
The Liberal government continues its push for bans on guns—but they aren’t very clear on what exactly that means.
Thunder Bay’s MP, Marcus Powlowski, recently wrote a letter to Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair, regarding the government’s plan to ban military style rifles. The letter received a lot of attention from those opposing the ban and was circulated around the internet.
The letter was dated January 16 and included objections and concerns regarding the plan. Powlowski said that he wrote the letter to pass on views of his constituents. One supporter wrote that Powlowski is “standing up to his own party.”
“Over the course of the past three months, I have heard a wide variety of views on this proposed ban,” wrote Powlowski. “I believe it is my role to ensure that these views are brought to your attention for consideration.”
iPolitics reported that Powlowski has worked as a doctor with First Nation communities in northern Ontario for around two years. He has also acquired two degrees in law from Harvard University.
“Given that there is currently no legal definition for a ‘military assault rifle’ in Canada, some community members I have spoken with are skeptical that a ban based on this term would make sense as a coherent firearm policy,” the letter said.
“Such a term, as they see it, is more political than policy oriented, and seeks to target certain firearms without a rational basis.”
“For some hunters in my riding, a ban on ‘military style’ firearms would seem to arbitrarily target one forearm over another based on their appearance.”
Powlowski brought up the fact that “military style assault rifles” are frequently used for legal hunting reasons.
Many people have also brought up the fact that the ban will be directed at gun owners who obey the law and legally own their weapons as opposed to the criminals who obtain and use firearms illegally.
Glen Motz, the Alberta Conservative MP, has demanded in a House of Commons petition that the issue be debated in court. Part of the reasoning includes Bill Blair’s estimation that the ban will cost over $250 million.
Powlowski wanted to make it clear that he supports the platform but thought that the concerns should be passed on and considered.
He told iPolitics, “I’m completely behind the Liberal party’s policy,” he added, “I’m not a gun enthusiast, I’m just passing on the views of my constituents, it’s part of my job as a Member of Parliament on behalf of my constituents.”
The House of Commons petition against the Liberal gun ban has accumulated 93,683 signatures and counting. The petition has been open since Dec. 17, 2019 and closes on Feb. 15, 2020.
Trudeau cabinet’s Bill Blair has revealed that their gun control plan will be rolled out in a “multi-step process” which will include the prohibition of the sale of assault weapons.
While the Trudeau government aims to prohibit assault weapons quickly, other measures, they say, will take more time, including the partial handgun ban that will require talks between the federal and provincial governments, according to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
Trudeau had specifically called for the banning of “military-style assault weapons” during his 2019 campaign, with a primary focus on weapons that farmers “did not” need that were designed to kill “the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.”
Blair went on to tell reporters Tuesday that his government will implement their agenda on firearms as the steps become ready to implement by the federal government or by the country’s minority parliament.
“Our work is to reduce the supply of guns getting into the hands of criminals, but you also have to interdict the demand for those guns,” he said. “We have just gone through, for many communities across Canada, a very difficult summer last year. And so we want to make sure we are there for those communities and work in those communities to make substantive changes and investments that will help to keep them safe,” Blair told The Globe and Mail in Winnipeg.
Blair said that new rules being put in place “could be accomplished in the near term,” going on to say that programs like an assault weapon buyback “will take a little bit more time.”
When Prime Minister Trudeau was asked in September about those who would not want to participate in a gun buy-back and “making law-abiding citizens into criminals,” Trudeau did not give a direct answer.
Provinces are disagreeing with the federal Liberals regarding their plan to enforce a handgun ban. They are instead siding with law enforcement who are arguing that banning legal guns is not the way to reduce violent crimes in Canada.
Saskatchewan is among the governments arguing against the planned handgun ban which is only directed at legal gun owners. They are also against banning semi-automatic rifles and allowing municipalities to choose whether they want to ban handguns for their areas on their own judgement.
Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford, also commented that bans on legal gun carriers will not be an effective way of lowering gun violence in his area or others.
In Alberta’s legislature, they unanimously passed a motion to preserve the rights of their legal gun owners.
Gun bans are opposed by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. CTV News reported Vancouver police Chief, Adam Palmer saying, “The firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They’re very strict.”
Trudeau previously said, “I very much look forward to the election campaign in which we will be able to share with Canadians our vision for how to keep Canadians safer.”
“That involves, yes, strengthening gun control but it also involves investments that … are so deeply needed in community infrastructure.”
Palmer argued, “People can’t be naive to the realities of how it works with organized crime and smuggling.”
“There will always be an influx of guns from the United States into Canada,” he added. “Heroin is illegal in Canada, too, but we have heroin in Canada.”
Const. Rob Carver debunked the idea of a handgun ban to the media today, describing the notion as “nonsense.”
“When we seize handguns, the handguns are always almost 100% in the possession of people who have no legal right to possess them. They’re almost always stolen or illegally obtained,” said Carver. “I simply don’t see how as a 27-year-old veteran, how adding another layer of law will make any difference, anywhere in this country.”
Const. Carver’s notion goes directly against that of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said he would not let resistance from unwilling premiers to stunt municipalities from banning handguns.
Trudeau told the Canadian Press that his government intended to allow handgun prohibition on “a city-by-city basis, rather than enacting a sweeping federal ban.”
City leaders in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto have all voiced concerns about deadly shootings, and have called for higher measures to control handguns in their cities.