Ontario Premier Doug Ford fired off a round of criticism at new federal gun control measures that were announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Ford was asked for his thoughts on the announcement, in particular, the government’s plan to introduce legislation for a buy-back program that will include “fair compensation.”
He began by stressing that the Ontario government “will not tolerate any gun crime of any kind, not now, not ever. We have zero tolerance for violent criminals.”
Ford said that as premier, he’s made it his mission to “target the thugs and the lowlifes that are out there terrorizing innocent people. Over the past two years, we’ve invested heavily and we’ve worked hand-in-hand with our law enforcement – which we absolutely support – to tackle guns and gangs at its core.”
However, he continued, “as law enforcement experts have highlighted time and time again, the only way to truly tackle gun violence is to crack down on the illegal guns being smuggled in daily” at the country’s borders.
As such, Ford said he would like to see the federal government “put money at our borders. Our great people that serve as border security, they’re incredible – give them the money.”
He’d also like to see the legal ramifications for those who partake in this type of activity “greatly” increased.
“These people, they get charged, and what’s frustrating… is they’re back on the streets in a few days,” he furthered. “Or if they get sentenced with a gun crime, it’s for a year or two.”
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The problem, said Ford, “is not the legal gun owners.”
Instead, “we need to target the smugglers, and we need to throw the book at these gangsters out there terrorizing our streets. ”
Noting that the federal government has set aside “hundreds of millions” of dollars to buy back firearms from “legal, licensed gun owners,” as part of the program, Ford said he “can’t help but think that money could be put to much better use.”
Ford said the number one priority should be to “strengthening the sentences, rather than giving these nasty criminals a slap on the wrist while they laugh at our police. Let’s start giving them some tough sentences. Throw the key away with these people.”
The federal government “should not give these people a slap on the wrist and then try and point the finger at legal, law-abiding gun owners, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money for what?” he concluded. “I don’t believe crime in Toronto is going to go down based on taking guns off legal owners.”