- C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms)
Original language of petition: English
PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
- The federal government has introduced Bill C-21, which includes sections prohibiting the majority of replica firearms, such as Airsoft guns, and embedding in legislation Order in Council P.C. 2020-298 of May 1, 2020 which prohibits and limits the possession of firearms listed therein;
- Bill C-21 will criminalize hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Canadians for possessing legally obtained firearms;
- Bill C-21 will financially devastate thousands of Canadians reliant on the sale of firearms for all or part of their income;
- Hunting has a longstanding history in Canada, for both Indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians, and needlessly revoking citizens' firearms erases and discounts our history and traditions; and
- The vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms, and confiscating firearms from law abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who obtain their guns illegally.
We, the undersigned citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to stop targeting law abiding citizens for possessing legally obtained firearms, to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians by ensuring firearms legislation is based on evidence not ideology, and to withdraw Bill C-21.
Government response tabled
Response by the Minister of Public Safety
Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): PAM DAMOFF, M.P.
Canadians deserve to be safe in their communities. That’s why the Government of Canada is taking action on gun violence with a comprehensive plan that gets firearms off our streets and puts more resources into our neighbourhoods, while respecting hunters and law-abiding gun owners. A central part of this work is addressing the assault-style firearms that have been used in the worst tragedies in our country’s history. This is why the Government has introduced Bill C-21, which represents the most significant changes to gun control legislation in more than 40 years. The objective and spirit of Bill C-21 is to enhance public safety through targeted firearms control and since its introduction, the Government of Canada has made clear commitments to take further action to protect Canadians and our communities from gunviolence.
When the Bill was tabled, the Government noted the intention to continue working to ensure a comprehensive ban of assault-style firearms. In November 2022, amendments were proposed to accomplish this. The core intent of the amendments was to prohibit assault-style firearms that are not suitable for civilian use, and not to target firearms that are commonly used for hunting. The proposed amendments generated significant debate and legitimate concerns and were withdrawn to create an opportunity to further consult with Canadians.
Following weeks of discussion with Canadians and after having talked with hunter association and organization representing law abiding gun owner, the government, on May 1st, took another decisive step to address gun violence. A series of new enhanced measure to strengthen Bill C-21 and cement in law a permanent ban on new assault-style firearms were announced. From Tackling the issues of ghost gun, to the re-establishment of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee those measure were made in Respect the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis by including a specific provision stating that nothing proposed in Bill C-21 derogates from the rights of Indigenous peoples recognized and affirmed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
Our Government recognizes the traditional and cultural importance of hunting for Indigenous communities and we are committed to ensuring that laws that are proposed or enacted do not prevent Indigenous Peoples from participating in a certain activity or practice that is integral and distinctive to their culture. The core intent of the amendments is to remove assault style firearms from civilian use and not to target hunting rifles. These amendments are not in any way intended to limit Indigenous rights. The Government will continue to consult and cooperate with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to identify a path forward.
The Government recognizes the legal civilian ownership of firearms for hunters, competitive and recreational sport shooters and collectors. We are committed to working with the all Canadians to identify a sensible approach that prioritizes public safety, supports effective police work and community programming and treats everyone in a fair and reasonable manner.
No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun violence alone. Bill C-21 is part of the Government of Canada’s comprehensive strategy to address gun violence and strengthen gun control in Canada. This includes legislative measures in the Bill to combat firearms trafficking and smuggling such as the higher maximum penalties from 10 to 14 years, the most severe penalties short of a life sentence. The Government has also invested over $920M throughout the last six years in targeted initiatives to address gun and gang violence. This includes over $312 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to support efforts by Public Safety, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to identify smuggled firearms at the border and through firearms tracing. Among other things, this funding will increase capacity to trace firearms and provide additional resources to target firearms smuggling and trafficking by equipping the RCMP and the CBSA with the necessary tools and resources, such as x-ray machines and parcel scanners, to prevent illegal firearms from entering Canada. Further, $125 million is being provided to law enforcement agencies to increase capacity in priority areas, ensure front line officers have access to an integrated suite of resources to support firearms investigations, as well as to help prevent illegal firearms from coming into the country.
- Presented to the House of Commons
March 31, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01269)
- Government response tabled
- May 15, 2023
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.