On August 28, PM Justin Trudeau issued a mandate that orders his cabinet to start looking into the possibility of enacting a full ban on assault weapons and handguns at the federal level. Minister of Border Security Bill Blair will now start exerting his political influence to support Bill C-71, which is a Liberal proposal, to implement stricter gun control measures on Canadian citizens.
The gun control bill will likely undergo debate later this year; it already enjoys the support of Montreal and Toronto, two major cities that have suffered deadly gun violence incidents in 2017 as well as this year. Analysts had predicted that PM Trudeau would issue a gun control mandate when he paid respect to the victims of the Danforth shooting in late July.
The Conservative Party intends to support measures that would prevent criminals and dangerous individuals from having access to firearms, but opposition leaders will need to fully evaluate the details of the bill as well as the proposed rules. There is a valid concern insofar as the rights of Canadian sport shooters, who are already preparing to oppose any draconian gun control measures.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association is ready to flex its political muscle against the Liberals on this issue. This group has a membership strength of 30,000; in the past, sport shooters have exerted pressure on Liberal attempts to go overboard with gun control, and they have been able to garner sympathy from Conservatives. As long as Liberals advocate strict gun control, Canadian sport shooters who are passionate about their rights will likely side with Conservatives from now until the next election.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.