Government Measures to Reduce Gun Violence and former Bill C-71
Branch/Agency: CSCCB/Public Safety
Government Measures to Reduce Gun Violence and former Bill C-71
The Government of Canada’s commitments to strengthen gun control measures in response to the Nova Scotia shootings, as well as, bring into force provisions in former Bill C-71.
- The recent tragedy in Nova Scotia has reinforced that there is an urgent need to act in order to reduce the risk of firearms violence in Canada.
- As noted by the Prime Minister, we were on the verge of introducing measures to ban assault-style firearms when Parliament was adjourned.
- The Government intends to move forward as soon as possible to prohibit these firearms.
- In addition to the ban, I have been very clear that we need to introduce a licence suspension regime to reduce cases of intimate partner violence, suicide, and other tragic events.
- Individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others would be required to temporarily surrender their firearms to authorities and be prevented from using and acquiring new firearms during the suspension period.
- We are also continuing our work to bring into force the provisions enacted by former Bill C-71, which received Royal Assent in June 2019.
- The authority to transfer the remaining long-gun registration records relating to Quebec to that province came into force immediately on Royal Assent and that work is proceeding . These were retained pursuant to a Federal Court order when the long gun registry data for other provinces were erased.
- The remaining provisions will be brought into force through Orders in Council including: extending firearms licence background checks to a person’s entire life history including a history of intimate partner violence, licence verification for sales of non-restricted firearms, record-keeping of sales of non-restricted firearms by vendors, remove the authority of the Governor in Council to deem firearms to a less restrictive class and require separate authorizations to transport restricted and prohibited firearms except when travelling to an approved range.
- Prior to these provisions coming into force, we need to secure funding for the RCMP to update its information management and technology systems to support these changes, test the systems to ensure that that the transition is seamless for both individual owners and retailers, and table the associated regulations in both Houses.
- The issues surrounding gun crime and gun violence are complex and constantly evolving.
- That is why the Government also intends to bring forward additional measures to target criminal use of firearms.
- We will strengthen firearms storage requirements to deter theft, enhance police tracing capacity, make investments to reduce the number of guns being smuggled across the border, and work with our partners from other levels of government to give municipalities the ability to further restrict handguns.
- We will also invest additional resources to establish a dedicated funding stream for municipalities to fight gang-related violence and expand diversion programs that keep at-risk youth out of the criminal justice system.
- This is a time for action on many fronts, and this Government intends to follow through and deliver for Canadians.
Firearms-related homicide doubled from 2013 to 2017 (134 to 267) but fell slightly in 2018 (249). Shootings have now become the most common method of homicide. According to police, gang violence accounted for approximately 52% of firearms-related homicides in 2017 and 51% in 2018.
This rising firearms-related violence is fueling public concern and giving rise to demands for federal action to curtail the availability of firearms in Canada.
On April 18-19, 2020, an unlicensed gunman in Nova Scotia used illegally-acquired long guns and handguns while killing 22 victims including one minor, two correctional service employees, and an RCMP officer. In the aftermath of the events in Nova Scotia, there have been renewed calls from gun-control advocates to ban assault-style firearms.
Bill C-71, An Act to amend Certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms
Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019.
Several provisions, including those clarifying that firearms seized by police are considered forfeited to the Crown, and those allowing remaining long-gun registration records specific to Quebec to be transferred to that province, came into force upon Royal Assent.
Provisions in the Act that will come into force at a later date, by Order-in-Council and once administrative changes have been made, will:
- Require licence verification for transfers of non-restricted firearms;
- Require vendors to keep records of non-restricted firearms transactions;
- Expand background checks to determine eligibility for firearms licences from the previous five-years to the entirety of a person’s life and expand grounds that must be considered including an applicant’s history of intimate partner violence and online threats;
- Repeal “deeming provisions” - remove the authority for the Governor-in-Council to ‘deem’ firearms to be of a less restrictive class, irrespective of the Criminal Code definitions.
- Provide grandfathering for existing owners of CZ-858 and Swiss Arms firearms, which will be reclassified as prohibited; and,
- Require a separate Authorization to Transport (ATT) when transporting restricted and prohibited firearms to any place except to an approved shooting range.
Bringing the regulations into force will require a series of both parallel and sequential initiatives. First, a funding decision will be required to facilitate the administrative and technical changes needed to support the regulatory changes. The draft regulations will need to be finalized, which will involve consultations with implicated parties. The regulations would then need to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament for at least 30 sitting days, before being brought into force through Orders-in-Council.
In parallel, the RCMP would require up to 24 months to implement the new provisions, with “deeming” and ATT provisions to be completed within the first 12 months and the remaining provisions thereafter (licence verification, licence eligibility, and vendor record-keeping).
Work is underway to develop a funding proposal to support the new provisions.
Prepared by: Ashley St-Georges, Junior Policy Analyst, Policy Development, Firearms and Operational Policing Policy, [Redacted].
- Date modified: