Trudeau’s municipal handgun ban promise leaves key questions unanswered

What would municipal handgun bans accomplish and the way would they work?

These questions persist after Liberal Chief Justin Trudeau pushed gun management to the fore of his marketing campaign once more this week. 

The Liberals say they’d empower native governments to “further restrict” or outright ban handguns as a part of a much bigger plan to curb crime. On the identical time, they’ve rejected the concept of a national prohibition on handguns and have not defined how native bans can be simpler.

The dedication left A.J. Somerset, the London, Ont.-based writer of Arms: The Tradition and Credo of the Gun, questioning if the Liberals are “throwing a sop” to mayors and advocacy teams calling for motion on gun crime. 

Somerset argues that “there is no level on which it makes logical sense” to bypass a nationwide handgun ban in favour of native ones.

That is as a result of it is not clear that even a national ban would significantly scale back gun crime, Somerset stated — a place additionally taken by the Canadian Affiliation of Chiefs of Police.

Actually there might be some laudable outcomes, similar to probably growing the road worth of unlawful handguns. Nevertheless it would not finish the move of weapons into Canada from the US — a main supply of handguns used to commit crimes on this aspect of the border.

Take Toronto, for instance. Police Chief Mark Saunders just lately estimated that a minimum of 80 per cent of unlawful weapons seized on the town’s streets might be traced to sources within the U.S. Lots of the remaining weapons are funnelled from different Canadian cities and cities.

That signifies that municipal bans can be even much less efficient at addressing the motion and sale of unlawful weapons, Somerset stated. 

“You can easily move a handgun in and out of a city, regardless of a ban. And criminals are already doing that every day.”

Cities in the US have imposed handgun bans, solely to have weapons are available in from outdoors.

Outlawing handguns in a metropolis like Toronto wouldn’t safeguard in opposition to these realities, Somerset stated.

Invoice Blair, a Liberal candidate and minister of border safety and arranged crime discount, urged Tuesday that the social gathering selected to not suggest a nationwide ban as a result of excessive price of a buyback program (there are greater than 900,000 legally owned handguns in Canada) and since it might goal law-abiding handgun house owners.

The Liberal plan would enable particular person municipalities to set parameters that work for them, Blair informed reporters.

Invoice Blair stated this week {that a} nationwide handgun buyback program can be an costly proposition. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Authorized uncertainty

However there are additionally questions on how native bans would work from a authorized perspective. The Liberals haven’t defined how they’d go about it.

Trudeau stated Tuesday that the mandatory “tools” can be made obtainable to municipal governments, however it’s not clear what which means.

There’s the potential for some difficult authorized wrangling, stated Carissima Mathen, a professor and constitutional scholar on the College of Ottawa.

Prohibitions that include the danger of punishment fall beneath legal legislation, which is federal jurisdiction. However municipalities are creatures of the provinces. Subsequently implementing native handgun bans would require a minimum of some co-operation from all three ranges of presidency, she stated.  

That might show tough in some circumstances. In Ontario, for instance, Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have rejected the concept of a handgun ban in Toronto, saying it might unfairly punish authorized firearms house owners.

Potential political hurdles apart, Mathen stated it’s sure that giving municipalities the choice of outlawing handguns would, on the very least, require amendments to the federal Firearms Act and sure require modifications to the Felony Code as effectively.

We would wish a framework of precise statutes,” she stated. “I’d be very surprised if this policy was effected without some kind of law on the books.”

CBC Information despatched a collection of inquiries to Trudeau’s marketing campaign, asking for readability on whether or not a re-elected Liberal authorities would pursue legislative motion to assist municipalities.

In an emailed response, a spokesperson for the Liberal marketing campaign declined to straight deal with any of the questions.

As a substitute, the spokesperson reiterated Trudeau’s boilerplate messaging, saying {that a} Liberal authorities would “work with provinces and territories” to make it potential for these communities which wish to additional prohibit or ban handguns to accomplish that.

“This is a priority commitment in the interests of public safety.”

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