‘Pretty Big Measures’ Underway to Restrict Guns, Blair Tells CTV

19 Mar 2019

TheGunBlog.ca — The Canadian government will undertake “pretty big measures” this year to further limit gun owners as it considers new bans for hunters, farmers and sport shooters, Minister Bill Blair told CTV News yesterday.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said separately to a Senate committee in Ottawa he expects Blair will have “something pretty important to say about his consultation” on a handgun ban. He said Blair may speak to the Senate next month.

‘Get It Done’

Blair vowed to complete the government’s plan as much as possible before parliament breaks in June ahead of October’s election. He didn’t mention specifics.

“There’s a relatively short legislative window, and some of these are pretty big measures that we’re undertaking,” Blair told Don Martin, the host of Power Play on CTV. “What I’m saying is, everything I can get done, I intend to do my very best to get it done, and if there’s more to do, then we’ll come back and get it done.”

Critical Election Issue

Gun rights are emerging as a critical election issue. The Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been the biggest political and legal threat to hunters and target shooters for decades.

Many gun owners want more restrictions and prohibitions for themselves and vote Liberal.

Bans Beyond Bill C-71

Trudeau instructed Blair in August to examine a “full ban” on handguns and many semi-automatic rifles or shotguns owned by licensed hunters and target shooters, in addition to the confiscations in Bill C-71, a planned law that could take effect this year.

Bill C-71 will make it harder for approved gun owners to buy, sell, own and transport firearms.

It’s already illegal for anyone to have a gun unless they have a firearm licence authorized by the federal police. About 2.2 million men and women have the permits after having gone through courses, tests, background checks, reference checks, spousal agreement, and daily police screening.

‘Ban on Private Ownership’

Blair and his colleagues have spoken of making it a crime to keep firearms at home. A government member of parliament said on Twitter last month “The proposal is a ban on private ownership, not sport shooters.”

Goodale addressed handgun prohibition yesterday in replying to Senator Marilou McPhedran on a committee reviewing Bill C-71. The senator, a Trudeau appointee, asked Goodale if he would amend the bill to include a handgun ban.

Goodale’s Response

“That specific question and several others have been referred by the Prime Minister to Minister Blair to consult about, and his work has been ongoing for the last number of months. I expect that he will have something pretty important to say about his consultation in the period immediately ahead.

A decision by the government with respect to that matter would need to await his recommendations. But they will be forthcoming very shortly.

I’m told that type of amendment would actually be potentially outside the scope of the legislation. … From a technical point of view, I think it would be out of scope.

[McPhedran’s question starts at 13:48:15 in the Senate video replay.]

Blair Transcript

Following are excerpts of Blair’s conversation yesterday with Don Martin, the host of Power Play on CTV News.

Blair: [Discusses New Zealand attacks and preventing access to firearms.] I’ve been asked to look at finding ways to make it more difficult for people to get guns, up to and including banning certain firearms.

CTV: Will you do something concrete before the summer recess? Because at that point in time, your mandate’s over.

Blair: I think there are some things that we can do that will be effective. But there are some things that perhaps could take more time. There’s a relatively short legislative window, and some of these are pretty big measures that we’re undertaking. But I think it’s a very important discussion. And what I can tell Canadians is: we are absolutely committed to doing the things that will actually be effective in keeping them safe. And there is no measure that we are not prepared to examine, and however long it takes to effect those measures, we’re prepared to act.

CTV: But you’re 50 days of legislature or House of Commons sitting away from a summer recess. Can you get this done? Sounds to me like you’re saying you can’t.

Blair: What I’m saying is, everything I can get done, I intend to do my very best to get it done, and if there’s more to do, then we’ll come back and get it done.

[Watch CTV News replay.]

Correction 09:20 Toronto time: Corrects name of Power Play.

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