On the same day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new legislation to provide enhanced measures for firearms, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced his plans to seek and implement a handgun ban in the City of Vancouver.
“I applaud the prime minister for taking action against assault-style weapons and the gun traffickers that put residents at risk,” said Stewart in a release. “But for cities like Vancouver, the greatest threat to public safety is the proliferation of handguns.”
Stewart said that once the federal legislation is passed, he would bring forward a motion “at the earliest opportunity,” directing staff to prepare a handgun ban bylaw in the city.
“Deadly weapons have no place in cities, and this bill would give us new tools to get them off our streets,” he said.
Stewart cited a “recent uptick” in gang-related shootings and “weapons recovered by police” as the reasons why Vancouver needs to implement a handgun ban “as quickly as possible.”
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Speaking on Tuesday, Trudeau said that gun violence has had “devastating effects” across the country and announced the introduction of new legislation to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to make communities safer “while respecting law-abiding gun owners.”
These laws would allow people, like a concerned friend or relative, to apply to the courts for the immediate removal of an individual’s firearms or ask a Chief Firearms Officer to suspend and review an individual’s licence to own firearms.
It also proposed fighting gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties and enhancing the capacity of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency to stop the illegal importation of firearms.
Trudeau said it would also support municipalities that ban handguns through by-laws restricting storage and transportation in their jurisdictions.
Stewart said his office “will be monitoring debate on Bill C-21 closely” as it moves through the House and Senate for any changes made that could impact a local bylaw.
Canada’s current gun laws require gun owners to be licensed and certain guns to be registered, under the the Firearms Act. This applies to everyone who possesses, uses, or acquires guns. Licences must also specifies what class of firearm can be in the owner’s possession: non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited.
With files from Clarrie Feinstein