TheGunBlog.ca — The Canadian government didn’t rule out mass gun confiscation against hunters, farmers and sport shooters after publishing a report yesterday showing “polarized views” on the topic.
Minister Bill Blair, who led public consultations on bans, told CBC News’s Power & Politics show last night the government is “ready to consider every and any option which will keep Canadians safe.” The host, Vassely Kapelos, asked him if the government had ruled out a handgun ban. (See also CBC News article.)
The rights of hunters, farmers and sport shooters to dignity, culture, privacy and property have become critical election issues.
All guns are banned already under threat of prison for anyone without a police-authorized gun licence.
Watch Replay of Bill Blair on CBC News Power & Politics
Bill C-71 Handgun Ban?
The Liberal Party-controlled government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is about to pass Bill C-71 as a new law to take away rifles from roughly 15,000 families, make it easier to ban more, and make it harder for shooters to buy, sell, own or travel with guns.
Liberal-appointed senators are pushing to inject a handgun ban into the bill. Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, who officially presented Bill C-71, has said a handgun ban may be outside its scope.
‘Pretty Big Measures’
Blair told CTV News last month the government is preparing “pretty big measures” that could include mass prohibition. He vowed to finish his plans after October’s election if he didn’t complete them before. He has also said it may be possible to ban private gun ownership in some places through mandatory central storage.
The minister published a report yesterday that analyzed meetings with 77 people including the editor of TheGunBlog.ca, an online survey with 134,917 respondents, and almost 1,200 written submissions.
More than 80 percent of respondents to the survey opposed new restrictions on handguns and “assault weapons,” the findings showed.
6 Key Findings
The 31-page document didn’t make recommendations or include Trudeau’s plans as he considers new confiscations aimed at the 2.2 million men and women and roughly 1,500 businesses with police-authorized firearm licences.
It did reflect a balance of views among supporters and opponents of responsible firearm ownership, while focusing on crime and violence by gangs and violent individuals using guns illegally.
Its six key findings included opinions shared by many stakeholders on all sides:
- “There are polarized views on a potential ban and limiting access.”
- “Target crime and focus on enforcement.”
- “Address underlying causes of firearm violence.”
- “Collect and share relevant data on gun crime.”
- “Willingness for collaboration with the firearms community/industry.”
- “Need a multi-faceted approach.”
Bans for Votes
The report marked a change for Hill+Knowlton Strategies, the government-communication adviser that drafted it. Two weeks before Goodale presented Bill C-71 last year, the company recommended new restrictions and prohibitions for lawful gun owners as a way to win votes this year, based on its analysis of an opinion poll.
“Gun control presents an untapped opportunity for Justin Trudeau and his team to grow and solidify the voting base that gave them a majority in 2015,” the company said in March 2018 in Policy Options magazine.
Hunting for food and shooting for sport are at the heart of Canadian culture and heritage. Canada’s first prime minister believed citizens needed arms for self-defence, according to a 2014 article by The Canadian Press quoting Blake Brown, a prohibitionist historian. (Buy Brown’s book on Amazon through TheGunBlog.ca Store.)
Today, more men and women have a firearm licence than play golf or hockey. Millions of unlicensed family and friends also shoot safely and responsibly under their supervision.
“There are polarized views on a potential ban and limiting access,” said the first major finding from the report by Hill+Knowlton for the Ministry of Public Safety.
“This summary report reflects what we heard and we appreciate the frank and open discussions that were had with Canadians during the roundtable sessions and bilateral meetings,” Blair said in a statement announcing the report.