Canada Introduces Assault Weapon Buy-Back Program Following Prohibition in 2020

Ross Houston
February 18, 2021

Gun violence has had devastating effects on communities across the country, and on too many Canadians who have lost loved ones.

Trudeau said Canadian officials studied gun buyback schemes operated by other countries, including New Zealand.

It's a voluntary program, but Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told a news conference that anyone deciding to keep the weapons won't be able to legally use, transport, sell, transfer or bequeath them.

Bill C-21, presented Tuesday morning, introduces a buy-back program for blacklisted firearms, allows municipalities to ban handguns and increases criminal penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking.

Help create safer communities by supporting municipalities that ban handguns through by-laws restricting storage and transportation in their jurisdictions. Firearms played a role in over 500 of those incidents, and victim advocates across Canada and the USA have called on governments to enact "red flag" laws to have guns removed from the homes of those deemed at risk of committing violence.

The spokesperson also said the province would rather focus its efforts "on action that makes a real impact in reducing illegal gun and gang violence", noting that law enforcement experts have repeatedly indicated that banning legal firearms doesn't meaningfully address gun violence.

These laws would allow concerned friends or relatives to apply to the courts for the immediate removal of an individual's firearms, or to ask a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) to suspend and review an individual's licence to own firearms, Trudeau said.

Members of a gun-control lobby that has fought against gun use since a massacre of 14 women at a Montreal engineering school in 1989 and supported the Liberals through a series of gun measures in the past two decades, slammed the government for going back on the latest promise to enforce a buyback of assault-style rifles following the Nova Scotia shooting.

Individuals who violate these municipal by-laws would be subject to federal penalties, including licence revocation and criminal sanctions.

Protect Canadians from gun violence by creating new offences for altering the cartridge magazine component of a firearm and depicting violence in firearms advertising, introducing tighter restrictions on imports of ammunition, and ensuring the prohibition of imports, exports, sales, and transfers of all replica firearms. The Trudeau government has also said it will reach out to US President Joe Biden's administration to find new ways to cooperate on gun smuggling issues along the border.

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) said it was "disappointed" by the bill, arguing the proposed legislation doesn't go far enough with respect to the "red fag laws".

"We thought we had won in the fall of 2019 when the Liberals announced with much pomp and circumstance that they would ban and buyback all of these killing machines".

According to Statistics Canada, more than 99,000 people were the victim of intimate partner violence in 2018.

Those purchasing a non-restricted gun will have to show their firearms license.

There will be adjustments to the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act under Tuesday's announcement.

There is a current amnesty period for these weapons which ends April 30, 2022.

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