OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announced new gun restrictions was hailed or hated, depending on who you talk to. Tuesday, the Liberal Bill C-71 passed through Parliament that would ban all “military style” weapons in Canada.
Those opposed to the change expect guns to be an election issue come the Federal elections in October.
The only thing left to do before the new Bill is adopted into law is Royal Assent, which is in most cases only a Royal rubber stamp.
The Bill will affect 1,500 different models of military-style assault weapons across Canada and will primarily cover non-restricted rifles and shotguns, with renewed requirements for validation of licences before the sale or transfer of long guns and mandatory record keeping for gun dealers and retailers.
It also extends background checks for licence applications and renewals.
The legislation, also repeals Conservative amendments to the Criminal Code that gave cabinet the power to overrule RCMP classifications for restricted and prohibited firearms.
The firearms community is also divided on the subject with many agreeing with the spirit of the bill, in that there is no practical reason for a hunter to do so using an assault weapon – like fishing with a hand grenade.
The Bill is the Trudeau government’s reaction to calls for a ban on handguns and military style semi-automatic rifles following the attack two weeks ago in Nova Scotia.
“Canadians are no longer allowed to buy, sell, use, transport or import those types of weapons,” Trudeau said. “Owners of those guns will have a two-year amnesty period to surrender the weapons, and Parliament will pass legislation to provide them with ‘fair compensation.’”
Under the plan, gun owners will also have the option to have their weapons “grandfathered,” a senior officials said. But he could not provide more details on the buyback program or on grandfathering, which was still to be worked out.
“Their families deserve more than thoughts and prayers,” Trudeau said of those affected by last month’s Nova Scotia shooting. “Canadians deserve more than thoughts and prayers.”
As expected Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was quick to reject the bill entirely
“Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally,” Scheer said in a statement. “The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Nothing the Trudeau Liberals announced today addresses this problem.”
The total number of weapons and owners affected by the ban is unknown, but it includes approximately 105,000 restricted firearms owned by about 72,000 people.