Criminals don’t follow gun laws, and law-abiding gun owners aren’t criminals. Justin Trudeau’s approach to guns fails to address the real problem – criminals who use guns to commit violence. This failure has consequences. As experts – including the newly appointed RCMP Commissioner – have pointed out, a blanket handgun ban will do nothing to curb gun violence and will instead only make criminals out of law-abiding firearms owners.
Most gun crime in Canada involves guns that are illegally smuggled into Canada. On November 20, Andrew Scheer announced the second of three policy pillars in his plan for A Safer Canada: Gun Laws That Target Criminals. Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives will ensure that anyone who is found with a smuggled gun goes to prison. Our firearms laws will make sure these guns don’t fall into the wrong hands. That means targeting criminals, not hunters and sport-shooters.
Andrew Scheer’s plan consists of the following proposals:
- Prison time for knowingly possessing a smuggled gun
The vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. A particularly high number are committed with firearms illegally smuggled into the country. There is no legitimate reason to be in possession of a firearm that has been smuggled into Canada. That is why a Conservative government under Andrew Scheer will ensure that anyone who is knowingly in possession of a smuggled gun is sent to federal prison.
- Tackling “straw purchases”
Law enforcement and municipal leaders have flagged concerns around guns purchased legally being diverted into the hands of criminals. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that anyone found to engage in this behaviour will face serious consequences, including prison time and a lifetime ban from owning firearms.
- Create a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force
Many guns used in crime are illegally smuggled into Canada by organized crime. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will create a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force. This task force will oversee an increase of frontline officers, deployment of new technology, and further use of criminal intelligence. They will also be authorized to work with law enforcement counterparts on both sides of the border to identify smuggling routes, and ensure that smugglers and those employing them are put behind bars where they belong.
- Temporary gun seizures for detained mental health patients
It is important to ensure that individuals who are mentally unstable do not have access to firearms. Provinces have established legislation relating to detaining individuals experiencing mental health distress for their own protection. However, there is a patchwork approach between provinces as to how those who have firearms licenses are dealt with. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that any firearms owner detained under provincial mental health legislation will immediately have their firearms seized. They will be able to apply, after a period of time, to have their property returned if they can demonstrate that their condition has stabilized.
- Lifetime firearms ban for violent and gang criminals
Gun laws need to target criminals, not law-abiding gun owners. Individuals who have demonstrated serious violent behaviour or have been involved in gang activity have forfeited the right to ever be trusted to own a firearm. A Conservative government by Andrew Scheer will make lifetime firearms bans mandatory for all serious personal injury offences and gang crimes.
- New penalties for selling guns to prohibited users
When the courts decide that an individual should never be trusted to own a firearm, government should uphold that decision. Any individual who knowingly provides a firearm to an individual who is the subject of a gun ban is committing a serious crime. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that these individuals face serious prison time and that they themselves will be prohibited from owning a firearm for life.
- New tools for police to solve gun crime
Law enforcement agencies across Canada have continually said that they face challenges getting convictions for firearms crime. A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will take steps to improve this situation by encouraging firearms manufacturers to improve traceability, require the submission of ballistic data on crime guns, and by ensuring that the RCMP crime lab is appropriately resourced.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said: “I’m not sure if a complete ban is the answer.” –
Adam Palmer, CACP President and Vancouver Chief of Police said: “Even if we make (handguns) more illegal than they already are, criminals will still come into possession of them, and still use them for illegal purposes.”
Chris Lewis, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police said: “It would be unmanageable and unfair to the majority of handgun owners who obey the law and always use their guns safely. Let’s effectively deal with the criminals that do not obey the current criminal law.”