Listen to the Prime Minister's Announcement
The Liberal government is addressing the escalation of gun violence in Canadian cities by proposing an immediate ban on handguns as part of a five-part strategy to make our communities safer, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced in Toronto today.
“We do not accept the threat these weapons pose to Canadians,” said the Prime Minister. “To make our communities safer we should ban handguns outright.”
The Canada Handgun Ban is part of the Liberal government’s comprehensive effort to make communities across this country safer.
This plan would include federal legislation that would enable provinces and territories to legally prohibit handguns within their borders. It would toughen penalties for gun crimes, help eliminate the supply of illegal handguns, and increase protection for communities across the country.
Prime Minister Martin’s five-part strategy to ban handguns and make safer communities would include:
- Banning handguns through an amendment to the criminal code that would invite provinces and territories to participate to make the ban national; an amnesty and buy-back program to collect existing handguns; and a national Gunstoppers Program to provide financial rewards for information leading to removing an illegal gun from the street.
- Toughening penalties by re-introducing legislation to crack down on violent crimes and gang violence, by doubling the mandatory minimum sentences for key gun crimes.
- Waiving re-licensing fees for owners of long guns in order to encourage full compliance with the Canada Firearms Program.
- Encouraging community-based action by intensifying prevention efforts. This would include a $50-million Gun Violence and Gang Prevention Fund to focus on youth at risk and continued investment in skills development programs to engage young people in the workforce.
- Investing in law enforcement, including $225 million over five years for an RCMP Advanced Community Safety and Rapid Enforcement Team, $10 million a year for 10 years to increase the number of graduating RCMP officers, $50 million over five years for a Rural Community Safety Plan to provide resources for crime prevention initiatives in communities with less that 100,000 residents, and investments to stem the illegal smuggling of firearms into Canada.
Legitimate target shooters who meet requirements would be eligible for an exemption to the handgun ban.
“Supporting a handgun ban in Canada is a statement of principle, but it is also a statement of purpose,” said the Prime Minister. By banning handguns and enforcing a comprehensive policing efforts, the Liberal government will get these dangerous weapons off our streets and help to stop gun crime.