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Canadian Local MPs Upset Over Gun Ban

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Canadas federal government announced a gun ban in Canada just weeks after the Nova Scotia mass shooting that led to the deaths of 22 people, and the three MPs for southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba are concerned about the ban.

The gun ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style firearms, meaning they cannot be legally used, sold or imported, starting immediately.

There will be a two-year amnesty period that allows owners of these weapons to comply with the ban and Trudeau said he will pass legislation that provides fair compensation to gun owners. A permit can be obtained to sell these weapons to buyers outside of Canada.

Details on a buyback program for these firearms has yet to be released, but any gun owner not in compliance with the ban by April 30, 2022, could face sanctions under the criminal code.

The ban was enacted through regulations approved by an order-in-council from cabinet and not through legislation because Parliament isnt meeting regularly due to the COVID−19 pandemic.

Trudeau made gun control promises during last years federal election and said the government was in the process of banning assault weapons when the COVID−19 pandemic hit.

“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only,” said Trudeau. “To kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.”

“There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” said Trudeau. “You dont need an AR-15 to bring down a deer.”

When the two-year amnesty period is up gun owners must surrender their firearms, but there will be an option to apply to have a firearm grandfathered in—the government has not yet released details on the grandfather application process.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Andrea Schry, right, fills out the buyer part of legal forms to buy a handgun as shop worker Missy Morosky fills out the vendors parts after Dukes Sport Shop reopened, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New Castle, Pa. under the new conditions specified for gun stores. The store had closed last week when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered a shut down of non-essential businesses to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo)

Its currently estimated that there are over 100,000 of the banned firearms that fall under the military-grade assault weapon category in Canada.

The nine principal gun models being prohibited in Canada as a part of the gun ban are:

M16, M4, AR−10, and AR−15 rifles (upper receivers will also be banned), Ruger Mini−14 rifle, Vz58 rifle and CZ858 rifle, M14 rifle, Beretta CX4 Storm carbine, Robinson Armament XCR rifle, CZ Scorpion EVO 3 carbine and pistol, SIG Sauer SIG MCX, SIG Sauer SIG MPX carbine and pistol, and Swiss Arms Classic Green and Four Seasons Series rifles.

In addition to prohibited models, all firearms with a bore 22mm or greater or firearms capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 Joules will be banned.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a daily briefing outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Canada, on May 8, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Trudeau said the the government will also be looking at banning certain handguns and improving border security in the future to supplement the initial gun ban.

“We know there is more to do on strengthening gun control in this country which is why were going to be moving forward when Parliament allows it with stronger measures around borders, stronger measures around safe storage,” said Trudeau. “Measures around handguns to permit municipalities to ban handguns within their city limits.”

The gun ban has been met with criticism by gun owners and Conservative leaders because they say it targets legal gun owners.

“Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally,” said Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer. “The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Ottawa should be focussed on the smuggling of illegal weapons at the border and work on strengthening jail sentences for gun crimes.

Local members of parliament (MP) say their constituents are not happy with the gun ban Trudeau introduced and have been hearing about the negative impact this issue will have on their areas.

Cathay Wagantall

Yorkton−Melville MP Cathay Wagantall says her constituents are upset with the ban.

“On an emotional level theyre very upset,” said Wagantall. “Ive fielded a great number of calls and emails already in regard to this. Theyre very frustrated as the majority of them would be gun owners on some level and they just see this again as another infringement on their rights and freedoms to have their firearms.”

“I was just listening to an interview on the radio and theres a lot of misinterpretations by people who dont use firearms or understand the dynamics around the whole issue. Education is a big thing,” said Wagantall.

“The heart hurts when we see these terrible things take place and I totally resonate with how people feel about these crimes that do take place and how desperately you want something to take place that can stop it. Unfortunately this action on the part of the Liberal government will not do that.”

With the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Wagantall says this was not the time to enact such a major ban.

“For us as members of Parliament—and for the firearms owners as well as everyday Canadians—were seeing this as another affront on our democratic processes,” said Wagantall. “Theyve taken advantage of a situation where were in a pandemic scenario and the House is not meeting regularly.”

“The opportunity to put it forward as legislation isnt there in the same way so theyve taken advantage of an order-in-council just with a stroke of a pen to bring into effect something that should have been fully debated and more information shared,” said Wagantall.

“Definitely from our caucus position, were on the side of law-abiding firearms owners and we have a solid platform of recommendations that weve given to the Liberals over and over again and that was part of our election platform as well that would make a difference. Its in equipping our police to deal with gangs and firearms theft to set up the CBSA (Canada Border Service Agency) with a proper task force.”

“A colleague of mine in British Columbia was approached by a member of his riding who is with the CBSA and said, look we know on a regular basis theyre coming across the border, we dont have the capacity to deal with this the way that it should be dealt with. There are many steps so the frustration is why take this route? When there are other things more important.”

“They did their own research on banning handguns and assault-style firearms and their findings showed that in all cases the data does not conclusively demonstrate that these bans in any way lead to a reduction in gun violence,” said Wagantall.

“If someone wants to perform a horrific crime they are going to find a way to do it and we do need to do everything we can to be diligent on our side.”

With COVID−19 causing the House of Commons to make adjustments, the order-in-council wasnt a fair way to go through the gun ban process, says Wagantall.

“I cant even put into words how frustrated we are with the way the government has shut down our house and our ability to counter what theyre doing or deal with it the way that we should be,” said Wagantall. “Its just another blow to the circumstances we find ourselves in where they are having incredible opportunity to spend without a lot of oversight.”

“All these things can be dealt with, thats why we have a House where we sit and work through a whole process. Its very frustrating and difficult when we have people who say you need to get rid of them.”

A lack of information and misinformation regarding the Nova Scotia tragedy has been a factor in this gun ban says Wagantall.

memorial-mass-shooting-Canada
memorial-mass-shooting-Canada
A woman pays her respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, Nova Scotia, Canada, on April 23, 2020. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press via AP)

“The frustrating thing about this is the truth isnt being told,” said Wagantall. “They said one of those weapons was from Canada —although two were smuggled in and the individual did not have a license—but they didnt indicate that the one he had from Canada actually belonged to the RCMP constable that he killed. Just saying just one was from within Canada (is deceptive) so the messaging is somewhat elusive. (The government is) Taking advantage of that, taking advantage of this COVID−19 pandemic scenario and we arent meeting as a House.”

Something that Wagantall is especially concerned about is the amount of money the government will be putting into the gun ban when it could have been used in other ways to help with gun violence in Canada.

“Theyre going to have to use taxpayer dollars to collect all of those firearms and once they collect them and pay these individuals out, they also need to destroy them,” said Waganatall. “Plus they have to compensate numbers of businesses that have millions of dollars worth of these firearms in stock.”

“Theyre talking millions, but its going to be billions. So why would you spend billions on that rather than the money on outfitting our police with better gear, bringing in better programs to help disenfranchised youth, dealing better with mental health and addictions, providing funding to the CBSA, and supporting our prosecutors—the police will tell you its a revolving door on these issues.”

“Theres so many things that weve encouraged them to do instead of basically penalizing law−abiding firearms owners,” said Waganatall. “Well continue to go that route. There are lots of things we can do instead of using this fear tactic thats misleading.”

Dr. Robert Kitchen

MP for Souris−Moose Mountain Dr. Robert Kitchen says this has been a hot topic of concern for his constituents.

“Ive been on the phone and my email has been going like crazy since this came about last week,” said Kitchen. “Ive been explaining where things stand and theres definitely a lot of concern.”

“These arent just from one area, these are from throughout the whole riding going from Rocanville all the way down to Coronach to Big Beaver and up into Odessa and down into Carnduff, all over the place. Theyre extremely upset about this,” said Kitchen.

“One of the things that is very telling about what theyre saying is how this was done, by it being done by an order-in-council.”

“Theyre extremely annoyed that there wasnt an opportunity for them to have had their voice—which would have been me— express their opinion in the House of Commons and have it debated. Theyre extremely annoyed about how this has come about and the steps that this prime minister and his cabinet have done to basically make changes,” said Kitchen.

Kitchen says this isnt just something thats causing a stir in his area, but its been a country wide concern with this being the avenue the government has chosen to deal with gun violence.

“My caucus had a meeting and there were a lot of concerns,” he said. “Its not just my riding were hearing this from, its throughout the country that were hearing concerns about this.”

“Concerns that were basically taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens and the reality is that this doesnt stop dangerous criminals from obtaining these guns illegally.”

“If youre going to put money towards things then put it towards things that we were proposing during the last elections campaign, like putting money towards the CBSA firearms smuggling task force so that it stops and gives them more money to stop this illegal movement of guns into Canada,” said Kitchen.

“Implement a better information sharing process to ensure police forces are easily cooperating with each other and the RCMP to track these illegal firearms. Look at other things like maybe, possession of a smuggled firearm as a criminal offense with a mandatory sentence of five years in prison.”

“Those are the sort of things we proposed and the things that we still will be championing,” said Kitchen. “But to punish law-abiding citizens who do everything they need to do and to label them as a criminal is extremely disheartening to every one of them.”

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