Law-Abiding Firearms Owners Deserve More Respect

On May 1, Justin Trudeau blindsided Canadian firearms owners by announcing a ban of more than 1,500 models and variants of “assault-style” firearms. The ban is effective immediately and means that these newly prohibited firearms cannot be legally used, sold, or imported.

Generally, a change of this scope and magnitude would be made through Parliament. A bill would be proposed, Members of Parliament would debate the proposal, and a committee would carefully study it and hear from expert witnesses. After all that, MPs would vote to either pass or defeat the bill. If it passed, the bill would have to go through a similar process in the Senate. In essence: there’s a lot of scrutiny throughout this process.

But the Liberals used a different method, an Order-in-Council (OIC), to proceed with their ban. OICs are drafted by the Cabinet (the Prime Minister and Ministers of the Crown) and formally approved by the Governor General. OICs are not discussed or debated by Parliament and do not require legislation to be passed by Parliament before being implemented. Any Member of Parliament who is not a member of the Cabinet is therefore excluded from the drafting process.

Thanks to the Liberal cabinet’s edict, thousands of firearms owners woke up Saturday morning suddenly in possession of prohibited firearms. That’s not right.

I don’t support the Liberal firearms ban or the method used to implement it. This approach represents a brazen disregard for the role of Parliament, but it also denies Canadians the opportunity to weigh in on the changes and participate in the crafting of the new measures directly.

Canada has not been immune to the tragic realities of gun violence. But the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms, by individuals not licensed to possess or acquire firearms. It doesn’t make sense to impose more and stricter rules on people already following the rules. That won’t make our communities safer. A government that truly wants to address gun crime has to be willing to do the much more difficult work of going after the criminal element behind the violence. That’s what Conservatives have long advocated for and we won’t stop now.

The Liberals are obligated to bring forward legislation to proceed with certain parts of their plan. I will take advantage of these debates to push back and challenge the Liberals’ misguided assumptions. I am also calling on the Liberal government to take real action on gun violence by implementing measures that target criminals, not law-abiding firearms owners.