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e-2341 (Democratic process)

Initiated by Bradley Manysiak from Medicine Hat, Alberta

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The Government of Canada has expressed its intention to ban, what it refers to as “military-style assault rifles”, through an Order in Council;
  • Public Safety Canada’s information notes this is not a legal definition in Canada;
  • The use of an Order in Council is an egregious overreach of executive authorities, bypassing the democratic process of the House and the elected representatives of Canadians;
  • This executive order would strip law-abiding Canadians it has approved through the RCMP Canada Firearms Program, of their legally purchased property;
  • The use of an Order in Council ignores the Government’s survey on firearms where “the majority of respondents did not support further limiting access to firearms & assault-style firearms”;
  • The proposed buyback of legal, licenced firearms could cost the Canadian taxpayer over $250,000,000 which could be better spent on initiatives that have an appreciable positive impact on public safety such as: deter youth from gangs, addiction treatment, mental health, strengthened border security, and increase police anti-gang capacities;
  • An Order in Council ban on “military-style assault rifles” would fail to take firearms away from criminals; and
  • A ban would unfairly target Canadian firearms owners who are already among the most vetted in Canadian society. Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) and Restricted PAL (RPAL) holders are subject to daily screening and are statistically proven to be less likely to commit crimes than non-PAL & non-RPAL holders.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to put any new firearms laws, bans, buyback programs or changes to licencing before the House of Commons to be debated.

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable David Lametti

The Government of Canada recognizes that gun violence is an increasingly important problem in Canadian society, and that it needs to be addressed. The Government made amendments to the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted (the Regulations) to classify certain assault-style firearms as prohibited to reduce gun violence, the threat they pose to public safety, as well as their prevalence on the market. In addition, an accompanying decree fixing a period of amnesty of two years to protect law-abiding gun owners from criminal prosecution until they can come into compliance with the law was also made. The Government has also announced its intention to introduce a buy-back program and grandfathering regime.

The Governor-in-Council has had the authority to prescribe firearms as prohibited or restricted by regulation for decades. This authority, in section 117.15 of the Criminal Code of Canada, was used to amend the Regulations that were made on May 1, 2020 and published in the Canada Gazette Part II.

The Government continues to examine ways to strengthen gun control and address the criminal use of firearms in Canada.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Joël Lightbound, M.P

Canadians deserve to live in a society where they can feel safe and secure from gun violence. These weapons have no legitimate civilian use, as they are designed to take as many lives as possible, as efficiently as possible. As of May 1st, the market for these dangerous weapons, which have been used to kill innocent Canadians, is closed.

Through Section 117.15 of the Criminal Code, Parliament provides the Government with the authority to prescribe the classification of firearms. We have exercised that authority to benefit the safety and security of Canadians, within limits set by Parliament. The affected firearms are prohibited as they (1) have semi-automatic action with sustain rapid-fire capability (tactical/military design with large magazine capacity), (2) are of modern design, and (3) are present in large volumes in the Canadian market.

This authority has existed for decades and has been exercised several times over the years. The use of regulations to reclassify firearms was also adopted by the previous Conservative government.

We made a promise to Canadians and we have delivered. We have been clear that our prohibition will not impact the activities of law-abiding hunters or sport shooters. We have also signalled our intent to implement a buyback program that will provide fair compensation to affected owners. We are looking at a range of options, and will work with Parliament as well as the provinces and territories to get this right for law-abiding gun owners and businesses.

While the prohibition is a crucial first step, it is only one of a series of measures that we will to take to target firearm-related crime in this country.  At the first opportunity we will introduce legislation that will strengthen gun control.  We intend to introduce a red-flag regime in order to better protect public safety, strengthen firearms storage requirements to deter theft, enhance police tracing capacity, and work with our partners from other levels of government to give municipalities the ability to further restrict handguns. 

We are also committed to combatting gun-related violence and gang activities and to strengthening border security, and increasing police anti-gang capacities. This will build on work that is already underway.

We announced funding of up to $327.6 million over five years through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (the Initiative) to combat gun-related violence and gang activities, including by supporting law enforcement and community-led projects focused on prevention.

More than $200 million is now flowing directly to the provinces and territories to target initiatives that best meet the unique needs of individual communities to advance efforts in areas of prevention, gang exit, outreach and awareness training as well as enhanced intelligence sharing and law enforcement capacity. With the funding allocations, jurisdictions have made investments to support new law enforcement activities including specialized training and education initiatives and improving data collection and information sharing.  PTs have also prioritized a number of prevention intervention initiatives. Building on these achievements, our Government has committed to investing additional funding to help municipalities meet the needs of communities at risk to fight gang-related violence and expand diversion programs to keep youth out of the criminal justice system.

The Government knows that the cross-border smuggling of firearms also poses a threat to the safety and security of Canadians. We are committed to taking action to prevent smuggled guns from entering Canada. We will introduce tougher penalties for trafficking and smuggling offences and will continue to make important investments in the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to strengthen border controls and reduce the number of guns being smuggled across the our borders.   These initiatives will build on work that is already underway.

Following hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts by the previous Conservative government, we are reinvesting in our agencies. Specifically the CBSA is receiving $51.5 million over five years through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence to enhance its capacity to stem the flow of inadmissible travellers and illegal firearms entering Canada at vulnerable points of entry and through postal facilities. It is also procuring equipment to enhance air cargo security and pallet imaging, intelligence collection and production abilities, and improving border operations through measures aimed at enhancing the CBSA’s capacity to detect and interdict illegal firearms at the border. The CBSA continues to work with key domestic and US law enforcement partners to generate leads, as well as support and assist with interdiction efforts.

In addition, the RCMP is receiving $34.5 million through the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence to enhance its capacity to conduct investigations related to the criminal use of firearms as well as to provide law enforcement with enhanced access to training, technology and data to keep illicit firearms out of Canada and detect and report on criminal gang activities.  The RCMP has created the Integrated Criminal Firearms Initiative to expand and enhance existing services available to support firearms investigations nationwide. This includes providing anonymous online capabilities to investigate firearms trafficking and smuggling, conducting physical firearms inspections, enhancing analytical capacity to develop and produce actionable intelligence, and supporting stakeholder outreach among partners to advance focused initiatives.  The RCMP is also prioritizing strategic intelligence analysis related to street gangs and the procurement of advanced technologies to expedite and further support the analysis of ballistics and illicit manufacturing of firearms. 

Going forward, we will work with our partners from other levels of government to give municipalities the ability to further restrict handguns in a manner that respects the authorities of all jurisdictions. We will continue working to enhance public safety by focusing on prevention, effective law enforcement and strong community partnerships.

Open for signature
December 17, 2019, at 1:17 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 15, 2020, at 1:17 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Glen Motz (Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner)
May 6, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00172)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - Glen Motz
Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner
Conservative Caucus