In Canada, possession of firearms is heavily regulated through Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PAL), along with additional authorizations and registration certificates for “prohibited” or “restricted” firearms. The Liberal government’s last legislative proposal on firearms, Bill C-71, was furiously opposed by everyday Canadians, representatives of indigenous and First Nations groups, gun retailers and the firearm industry, and shooting sports and firearm associations, on the basis that the legislation was nothing more than “feel good” amendments that would burden law-abiding gun owners without doing anything to address the real problems caused by gangs, illegal guns, and criminals. Despite this, the bill was passed and received Royal Assent last year.
In the lead-up to last fall’s federal election, the Liberal Party campaigned on promises of “stronger gun control” – specifically, bans on “military-style assault weapons,” granting local governments the power to ban handguns, and of course, even more legislative restrictions. In a post-election “mandate letter” last December to Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined his legislative and regulatory priorities. At the top of the list are “amend[ing] Canada’s firearms laws to ban all military-style assault rifles, with an associated buyback program and two-year amnesty,” and “work[ing] with provinces and territories to give municipalities the ability to further restrict or ban handguns.” [full article]