Here’s How PM Trudeau Could Ditch New Gun Bans: William Rees — The following is a simulated policy statement by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau drafted by Dr. William Rees, a reader of

The Liberal government will be making some sort of formal announcement soon pertaining to Minister Bill Blair’s inquiry into policy, regulations and legislation on gun ownership, including possible bans on handguns and what he has referred to as “assault weapons.”

Dr. Rees, who sent his speech for Trudeau to, thought the prime minister should be particularly careful to respect his commitment to evidence-based policy in addressing public safety.

What the Prime Minister Should Announce
By William Rees


All Canadians are rightfully concerned about violent crime, particularly in under-policed rural areas and in urban areas where there has been an increase in gun-related crime associated with criminal gang activity.

Because we are committed to law and policy based on the best available evidence, this government has reassessed the effectiveness of current constraints on legal gun ownership in Canada and extensively studied the likely effect of additional controls.

No Evidence

We have found that Canada already has some of the most extensive and rigorous regimes regulating civilian gun ownership.

Some will therefore no doubt be disappointed to learn that we find no evidence in national data or from international comparisons to justify new constraints on gun ownership.

New regulations, including banning particular guns, would merely further impair over 2 million legal firearms licensees in Canada (PAL holders) in the legal pursuit of hunting, target shooting and other legitimate uses of their firearms.

No Effect

We further acknowledge that, based on available evidence:

  1. Licensed firearms owners in Canada are exceptionally law abiding. You would be safer with PAL holders as neighbours than with average citizens.
  2. New “gun controls” including gun bans would have no discernible effect on criminal access to firearms, or on the factors that spawn gang culture and gang violence.

‘Assault Weapons’?

I should note in passing that there is no definition of “assault weapon” in Canadian law.

The type of firearm that is considered an “assault weapon” elsewhere – typically a fully automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine – is already banned in Canada. Calls for an “assault-weapon ban” or a ban on “assault-type weapons” in this country are therefore misdirected and based on a misunderstanding of the status quo.


Finally, I wish to comment on pollster’s reports that: “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.”

Illiberal, Unfair, Undemocratic

To those who say I should take advantage of this opportunity and make some kind of “big move” pertaining to gun control, I say: I will not do it!

To follow this advice would be illiberal, unfair and undemocratic.

  • It would be to take advantage of the real fears of a badly misinformed segment of the voting public.
  • It would be to abandon this government’s commitment to evidence-based policy.
  • It would be to infringe further on the ability of millions of innocent Canadians to enjoy their shooting sports.
  • It would be costly to taxpayers while contributing nothing at all to public safety.

Political Opportunism

In short, tapping this “opportunity” to collect votes would smack of the worst kind of political opportunism, bordering on cynicism.

Let me repeat: I will not do it.

Instead, I wish to assure Canadians that this government will now redirect resources to fighting actual violent criminal activity in town and country and toward addressing the social, economic and cultural conditions that foment gang culture in our cities.

Thank you.