Four-fifths of British Columbians would support a handgun ban in their city. (Black Press Media file)

Feds won’t let resistant premiers scuttle municipal handgun bans: PM

The government will push ahead with plans to prevent smuggling of pistols into Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he won’t let resistance from unwilling premiers scuttle the plans of municipalities that want to ban handguns.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Trudeau also defended his government’s intention to allow handgun prohibition on a city-by-city basis rather than enacting a sweeping federal ban.

Some municipal politicians in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, concerned about deadly shootings, have called for measures to control handguns in their cities.

The Trudeau government plans to empower provinces and cities to take steps to manage the storage and use of handguns within their individual jurisdictions, given that they have different needs and concerns.

“We have heard from a number of particularly large cities saying that they want to be able to ban handguns within their city limits,” Trudeau said during the wide-ranging interview in Ottawa this week.

“That is something we are hearing from some very specific places across the country but not everywhere across the country. And we feel that it would be a solid step to move forward and give cities and provinces those tools to do that.”

The group PolySeSouvient, a leading voice for gun control, is pushing for a truly national handgun ban, arguing local ones are generally ineffective, as what it calls the “disastrous patchwork of local and state laws” in the United States demonstrates.

READ MORE: Nearly 80% of British Columbians support a ban on handguns in cities

Local bans would also have to overcome “enormous obstacles,” including provincial governments ideologically opposed to gun control and an array of legal and jurisdictional complexities, the group recently warned in a letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has already signalled opposition to banning handguns despite support for the idea from Toronto Mayor John Tory.

The federal government’s preference is to hand some powers over firearms to the provinces, which would in turn allow for municipal regulation, Trudeau said.

“In some situations, we may have a province that is unwilling to do that despite the willingness of a city or cities to do that,” he said. “At which point, I have been assured, there are other tools we can use that wouldn’t be as ideal, because it would involve disagreements with the provinces at a time where we want to be collaborative.”

Trudeau declined to elaborate on any alternative measure, “because it’s something we hope to not have to use.”

He stressed that further restrictions represent just one element of the federal strategy on handguns.

The government will push ahead with plans to prevent smuggling of pistols into Canada, collect more information about purchases from retailers, and ensure more secure storage of firearms in shops and homes to deter theft, he said.

The Liberals also see spending on anti-gang programs, community centres and local policing as key to reducing urban violence.

They promise to move quickly on a commitment to outlaw assault-style firearms, including the popular AR-15, saying guns designed to inflict mass casualties have no place in Canada. Owners of legally purchased firearms that fall under the ban will be offered fair-market prices through a buyback program.

The prime minister played down the notion his government’s minority status affords little time to usher in tighter gun control.

“Our primary concern is getting it right,” he said. “But even in a minority situation we’ve seen that there is a very clear consensus from three of the parties in the House — us, the NDP and the Bloc — that moving forward on much stronger gun control is a priority.”

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Our View: Province needs to crack down on COVID-spreading events

Illicit parties and rule-breaking gatherings need to be stopped

Langley City corrections officer rides for cancer cure

Even in the midst of the pandemic, the Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley will go on

Many questions for Langley teachers as return to school approaches

Immune-compromised teachers are among those waiting to hear about plans

LETTER: Trudeau wasting tax dollars on vacation home upgrades, Langley man says

Renovations costly to prime minister’s official government vacation property

Summerset keeping ‘live music alive’ with weekly outdoor concerts at Fort Langley eatery

Sundays in August will see a ticketed audience of no more than 50 seated with social distance

STANDING TALL: Forestry workers meet the challenges, remain hopeful

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Homemade explosives detonated in South Surrey

Police asking public for help identifying those responsible

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Missed rent payments because of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Most Read