Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Despite the recent reiteration of their promise to allow municipalities to ban handguns, the Trudeau Liberals are facing increasing opposition to their plan, both from a provincial and municipal level.
Back in June, the province of Saskatchewan amended their law to limit "the ability to ban firearm and handgun ownership within the province through new local municipal bylaw."
At the time, Premier Scott Moe, just recently re-elected with a majority government, said "They [the feds] have chosen to make a decision to move forward on a, essentially, firearm ban that is expanding day-by-day — by stealth, on their website.”
Moe explained that Saskatchewan's changes are aimed at preventing a patchwork of firearms rules across the province.
The Albertan government also set up a panel to combat increased firearms restrictions from the feds and explore empowering the province with more control over firearms legislation.
Premier Jason Kenney, speaking on the issue, stated: “Put simply, while some in Ottawa believe in targeting legally-purchased inanimate objects, Alberta believes in targeting actual criminals who represent a threat to public safety.”
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has also previously stated his opposition to a municipal handgun ban with a government spokesman telling The Globe that: “We invite the Prime Minister to explain how targeting legal firearms owners will help take illegal firearms off our streets and protect our communities from criminals.”
On a municipal level, even previous proponents of the ban like Mayor John Tory of Toronto have changed their position, instead calling for a straight up national ban, no doubt to avoid the complexities such a law would bring to an area like the GTA with its various regions of municipal government.
The Ottawa based newssite iPolitics, not exactly known for conservative or pro gun rights reporting, ran a story in March of this year that found almost no support for the Liberals plans to ban handguns on a municipal level.
The Mayor of Cold Lake, AB, Craig Copeland, told The Buffalo Tribune that Cold Lake city council does not support the federal government's efforts to ban firearms:
“There was tremendous support from western municipalities to our request that municipalities write to the Prime Minister and the Minister Blair voicing their concerns about the gun ban. Over thirty municipalities from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta have jumped on board. We have written to the Prime Minister and Minister Blair in an official letter in June but unfortunately no reply back from the federal government,” said Copeland.
Sheldon Clare, the president of the firearms advocacy group the National Firearms Association, praised the letter from Cold Lake, calling it a “sensible response to a federal Liberal policy which has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with civil disarmament.”
Copeland went on to say “The federal government is more than $20 million in arrears to the City of Cold Lake – a community of just under 15,000 people. Perhaps the federal government should honour its own legislation and help municipalities fund services such as police, crime reduction strategies, and social programs. Instead, the feds will spend untold millions more to buy legally owned guns from Canadians who have committed no crime.”
While the Mayor of Vancouver, Kennedy Stewart, a former NDP Member of Parliament, has said he would happily implement a handgun ban if permitted by the feds, his position seems to be well out of step with the majority of provincial and municipal leaders across the country.
It appears that Trudeau and his Public Safety Minister Bill Blair will have their hands full trying to get their unpopular, ineffective and ideologically driven legislation passed.