Op-ed: Liberal government isn’t serious about gun violence

This Liberal government is not serious about reducing gun violence. If they were, they would be going after dangerous criminals instead of targeting law-abiding firearms owners. But instead, Justin Trudeau is using the current pandemic and the immediate emotion of the horrific attack in Nova Scotia to push the Liberals’ ideological agenda and make a major firearms policy change while Parliament is not sitting.

Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals who obtain their guns illegally. In fact, an engagement paper by this government found that, “the vast majority of owners of handguns and of other firearms in Canada lawfully abide by requirements, and most gun crimes are not committed with legally-owned firearms.” Moreover, “any ban of handguns or assault weapons would primarily affect legal firearms owners.”

The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally-obtained firearms. Nothing the Trudeau Liberals announced addresses this problem.

Any serious measures to make Canadians safer should not focus on punishing legal firearms owners. It should be on funding and supporting initiatives that would directly impact smuggling and illegal sales of firearms in Canada.

I side with all Canadians on the importance of supporting common-sense firearms policies that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.

Why is the Prime Minister choosing to potentially spend billions of taxpayer dollars to buy back guns from honest, law-abiding citizens who continue to follow all the rules? Wouldn't a wiser decision be to make funding police anti-gang and gun units and a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force their first priority?

How about investing more in youth prevention programs, getting serious about rural crime, creating tougher sentences for violent offenders, and supporting courts and prosecutors?

How about getting serious about increasing access to mental health and addictions treatments?

Twenty-two innocent people lost their lives in Nova Scotia at the hands of a deranged killer. Canadians are rightly upset by this horrific attack and want answers. The RCMP has made it clear the shooter did not have a firearms license, so all of his guns were illegal. As the RCMP’s investigation unfolds, we will have greater clarity on the source of his firearms.

The Prime Minister and his Minister of Public Safety need to explain why they are targeting law-abiding firearms owners when their government’s own research shows that, “the data does not conclusively demonstrate that … handgun or assault weapon bans have led to reductions in gun violence.”

A serious plan to reduce gun violence, after all, is what all Canadians want.

Cathay Wagantall, MP