Trudeau says he’ll make streets safer but his new gun bill won’t help

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The only thing the Trudeau Liberals know about guns is how to use them for political advantage. That’s what they did again on Monday when they introduced new firearms legislation aimed at capping, but not banning, handguns in this country.

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It’s not what Trudeau has been promising or threatening depending on your point of view.

In the 2019 election he campaigned on allowing municipalities to ban handguns, an unworkable measure that would do nothing except keep handguns as a political issue for him to campaign on. It was the same in the 2021 election when he campaigned on allowing provinces to ban handguns but shied away from a national ban.

Now, Trudeau is putting forward legislation that won’t allow anyone new to buy, import or transfer a handgun — legally.

This is the big problem with this entire game Trudeau is playing. The legislation he says will make you safer is more concerned with legal, licenced gun owners, not the gang members shooting up the streets.

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There is a measure to increase the maximum penalty for gun smuggling and gun trafficking from 10 years to 14 years, which is a good thing, but this same government is lowering sentences for these same offences in another bill. In fact, they are scrapping the mandatory minimum for a number of serious gun crimes in Bill C-5.

Currently, importing a gun illegally carries with it a mandatory minimum of three years on the first offence and a five-year minimum on the second offence. The Trudeau Liberals are scrapping that along with mandatory minimums on using a firearm in commission of a crime, possessing a restricted or prohibited weapon, possession of loaded handgun, possession of weapon obtained through crime, weapons trafficking and using a gun to commit robbery or extortion.

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How can you claim to be getting tough on gun crime when reducing mandatory minimum sentences on crimes like robbery and extortion with a firearm?

The increase in the maximum sentences for gun smuggling is pretty much the only part of the legislation aimed at criminals using guns. The bill spends more time dealing with changes to who is considered a security guard than it does dealing with criminals and their use of firearms.

Officials on a technical briefing for media were asked which other elements of the bill are aimed at dealing with criminals smuggling guns but there wasn’t much. They pointed to a new ban on people without a gun licence importing ammunition across the border — something that should have existed already — and a change on the inadmissibility of some criminals trying to cross the border.

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Overall, that’s pretty thin gruel for a government that said it wants to tackle gun crime.

This bill focuses on guns, it focuses on licenced gun owners, but it doesn’t focus on crime. It’s a classic distraction tactic from Trudeau and his government that makes it look like they are doing something to tackle an issue when they aren’t.

This bill, beyond a handgun freeze, also makes changes to bring in red flag laws to let police or courts seize the firearms of someone deemed a danger to themselves or others and it will force magazines for long guns to be capped at five rounds. None of that will deal with the issue of smuggled guns being used on the streets of our cities and towns every single day.

If the Trudeau Liberals proposed sensible measures to deal with issues like bail reform and the border, they would have my full support. Instead, they give us theatre and grand gestures that won’t solve the problem.

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