TheGunBlog.ca — Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, told CP24 television he wouldn’t target law-abiding gun owners to stop violent criminals if he were prime minister, differing from the Liberal government’s Bill C-71.
Scheer made the comment to CP24 on July 5 in response to a question about illegal shootings in Toronto. Police statistics show 208 shootings this year to July 3, compared with 177 in the same period last year.
Following is an excerpt from the interview.
CP24: It’s been a particularly brutal five or six weeks here in the city. I wonder, if you were prime minister, what would you do differently, or what do you think the solutions may be to this?
Scheer: It’s been a very difficult year for Torontonians and people all throughout the GTA [Greater Toronto Area].
Two things that we would do much differently.
The first is: Not target law-abiding gun owners. The Liberals have a bill before the House of Commons that just brings back the gun registry through a back door. It takes a lot of government resources to go after people who already follow the laws.
The other thing we wouldn’t do is what the Liberals are doing, and that is reducing penalties for gang members. There is a bill before parliament that actually lowers the penalties, lowers the sentences, for people who have been convicted of being a part of a criminal organization or a gang.
We believe the federal government should be keeping dangerous criminals off the streets longer. You’ve heard from municipal officials, we’ve heard it from law enforcement and families saying that it is a problem that people are not being held accountable for the very dangerous crimes they have committed.
CP24: What about the idea of revoking bail for people who have already been convicted of gun violence and then get re-arrested again? That’s something [Toronto] Mayor John Tory brought up just earlier this week.
Scheer: I’ve had the opportunity to meet with John Tory previously. We’ve talked about a wide range of issues that could help improve safety for people here in the GTA. That’s something I certainly want to explore more with him.
He also brought up a few ideas as to how law enforcement, both municipally and with the RCMP, can do a better job with tracking handguns.
We know that a lot of the firearms that are being used are illegal handguns that are, in many cases, smuggled over the border illegally. So we need to have a multifaceted approach on this. Yes, going after the illegal guns themselves, and definitely keeping dangerous people off the streets through a variety of tools.
—Reporting by Chris Wright for TheGunBlog.ca