On May 30th, the federal government announced the passage of the new Bill C-21. If passed, the proposal will further restrict legal access to handguns in Canada and establish methods to identify those who might be a danger to themselves or others.
Gun control activists have claimed Bill C-21 as a welcome step in forwarding the prevention of gun violence. Bill C-21 is said to include a “freeze” on the sale, acquisition, or transfer of handguns in Canada, except for a small number of people and businesses, without outright prohibiting their usage.
An example of how the bill will work, is, for example, people who commit domestic violence or criminal harassment, such as stalking, would have their firearms licenses automatically revoked under the law.
Meanwhile, firearm rights groups argue that the bill will unfairly punish lawful gun owners and will not help in terms of addressing crime. The measure, according to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, “will help to prevent gun violence and keep Canadians safe.”
The law also includes red and yellow flag provisions, which allow a person who poses a threat to themselves or others to seek an emergency weapons restriction order in court to have their firearms taken away for up to 30 days and their firearms license suspended.
The bill will not outright ban handguns, allowing current owners to keep and use them, but it does seek to limit the number already in circulation in Canada. The Liberals plan to continue to fight gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, providing more tools to investigate firearm crimes, and strengthening border measures.