While proposed gun management laws put ahead by the Liberal authorities on Tuesday would allow cities to ban handguns — with bylaws that prohibit their possession, storage and transportation — it stays unclear whether or not the brand new measures would achieve decreasing gun crime.
Under the proposed laws, cities would have a variety of choices.
Some embrace an outright ban on having a handgun wherever inside a metropolis’s limits. Or a metropolis may ban the storage of handguns in a home, requiring homeowners to pay for storage at a gun membership or different facility.
Any bylaw handed by a metropolis could be supported with penalties that would embrace jail time.
But it is “questionable what a handgun ban can achieve,” in line with A.J. Somerset, creator of Arms: the Culture and Credo of the Gun, “because the argument would be that the criminal market can adapt and switch to alternative sources of supply — chiefly smuggling.
“Criminals are going to maneuver issues out and in of cities. Cities do not need borders is the massive downside, and we won’t actually management these borders,” Somerset told CBC News.
“If you are going to have a ban on handguns it must be a federal ban on handguns. It must be nationwide.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he welcomes the federal government’s efforts to address gun crime, and reaffirmed his desire to see a federal handgun ban without specifically mentioning support for the patchwork of municipal bans proposed by the federal Liberals.
“The metropolis seems ahead to receiving particulars … on how such a ban would work and what its influence could be on gun violence,” Tory said in a statement.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says it has not taken a position on letting cities ban handguns.
A spokesperson for Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says the provincial government is reviewing the proposed legislation but that it would prefer to focus “on motion that makes an actual influence in decreasing unlawful gun and gang violence.”
“As legislation enforcement specialists routinely spotlight, it has not been demonstrated that banning authorized firearms and focusing on law-abiding residents would meaningfully handle the issue of gun violence,” the spokesperson told CBC News.
It’s legitimate for some Canadians to feel that their Canada does not include handguns.– Author A.J. Somerset
In the meantime, the Ontario government said it would be happy to work with the federal government on tightening border restrictions to prevent guns being smuggled from the U.S. into Canada; where it says 80 per cent of illegal guns come from.
Somerset says if reducing gang violence is the aim of the legislation, then the federal government’s approach to the black market in drugs — which he says fuels the economies of gangs — should be rethought as should the social policies currently being used to target the reasons why people join gangs.
He’s not the only one calling attention to social policy.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters also advocates for a “have a look at the extra societal points which are resulting in a few of the gun violence that we’re seeing,” said Matt DeMille, the group’s manager of fish and wildlife services.
DeMillie says that while he awaits the final version of the legislation, he has concerns about regions such as the Golden Horseshoe, where many municipalities border one another. He says it is not impossible to imagine a situation where each city has restrictions that are only slightly different from their neighbours, making it difficult for owners to understand, let alone comply, with the laws.
“Adopting measures throughout the province in a patchwork goes to be very tough for individuals to know,” he said.
Somerset and DeMillie both say the current laws restricting handguns in Canada have reduced the motivations for ownership of handguns to people that use them for target practice at gun clubs. They both say that further restrictions will likely only punish people already following strict regulations.
“This a part of the invoice does not handle the main downside, which is the illicit use of unlawful weapons in crime,” said Conservative public safety critic Shannon Stubbs.
“It appears that it could trigger individuals to maneuver from and between municipalities whereas creating one more layer of complicated and overlapping laws and guidelines for legislation abiding firearms homeowners whereas doing nothing to really crack down on unlawful gun smuggling, buying and selling, and gang crimes with weapons,” she said.
Somerset said, irrespective of the hope that new restrictions will bring down gun-related crime in Canada, it is entirely reasonable to impose a national handgun ban if that is what Canadians want.
“It’s professional for some Canadians to really feel that their Canada doesn’t embrace handguns, it is a professional place to have when asking what sort of a society will we wish to stay in. At that time there actually is not a proper reply any extra, it is what individuals need or don’t need,” he mentioned.