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e-4221 (Justice)

Initiated by Robert Dowdell from Barrie, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The Government of Canada's amendments to C-21 tabled in the Committee on November 22,2022, negatively affect law-abiding gun owners;
  • The amendments of C-21 drastically change the original focus of the bill;
  • In the amendment of C-21 the definition " prohibited firearm" was not in the Charter Statement and was not debated in the House of Commons;
  • Public Safety Canada stated that the Hill & Knowlton consultant summary "Reducing Violence: A Dialogue of Handguns and Assault Weapons" was their primary source of Information to justify the Order in Council 2020-0298 and Bill C-21. As noted in the report key findings, the majority of stakeholders who were invited by Public Safety Canada for written responses opposed a potential ban of firearms of legal gun owners;
  • The amendment of November 22, 2022, "evergreen definition" of a prohibited firearm is an overreach. Semi-automatic firearms are non-restrictive. Fully automatic firearm and magazines capacity of more than five have been prohibited in Canada since the 1970's;
  • The amendment to C-21 greatly infringes on the treaty rights of First Nations legal gun owners; and
  • The prohibited firearm definition is an item currently contained with in Federal Court Case concerning the Order in Council of May 2020. The amendment could directly affect the outcome of this Federal Court Case.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Stop targeting law abiding hunters, sports shooters and farmers with gun legislation; and
2. Immediately withdraw the amendments tabled on November 22, 2022, at the Standing Commitee of Public Safety and National Security.

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 gun violence.

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 from Canada 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 $920 million 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. 

Open for signature
December 21, 2022, at 3:18 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 19, 2023, at 3:18 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil)
April 18, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01297)
Government response tabled
June 1, 2023
Photo - John Brassard
Conservative Caucus