A Federal memo released on Wednesday shows that the government is looking into changes that would allow for authorities to quickly identify people it considers unfit to own guns for reasons like violent behaviour or mental instability.
The Liberal’s are going to introduce legislation this month for enhanced background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a handgun. This new legislation will allow authorities to screen people who already own guns, as well as people who are purchasing a gun for the first time. This announcement comes on the same day that there is a national meeting on gun and gang violence being held in Ottawa which will include a panel of members from academia, government, community organizations, law enforcement and mayors.
The memo states that it is looking to base the new Ottawa law off of an existing Quebec law that requires people who work at schools, shooting clubs and childcare facilities to report behavior that indicates someone might harm themselves or another person with a gun. “Identifying individuals who are no longer eligible for a firearms license as quickly as possible and ensuring they can no longer access firearms is an important public safety objective,” the memo said. The memo also addressed the need to find “the right balance” between public safety and privacy rights.
While the plan to crack down on gang violence and illicit gun trade and gotten approval from many people in the firearms community, they are concerned about laws that force new burdens on merchants and legitimate owners. The Canadian Shooting Sports Association released a statement saying “We take minister Goodale at his word that he will take concrete action against violent criminals. If the minister’s course of action focuses on the drug war and those who perpetuate the violence it breeds, we wholeheartedly and unreservedly support him. We remain cautious, however, as history has shown that governments often attack the low-hanging fruit, lawful gun owners, in their rush to appear to be doing something about criminal violence — rather than do the hard work required to end it.”
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.