Firearms and Gangs
Date: October 21, 2020
Branch / Agency: CSCCB/ Public Safety
Mandate commitments to strengthen gun control and ban assault-style firearms.
- We have seen consensus across the country that more must be done to counter firearms-related violence and keep our communities safe.
- When our government was elected a year ago, we put forward a comprehensive gun control agenda. On May 1, we delivered on a key element of this agenda by banning over 1,500 models of assault-style firearms and ending the proliferation of these dangerous firearms in our communities.
- We have also put in place an amnesty to give existing owners time to come into compliance with the law and signaled our intent to implement a buyback program as soon as possible to remove theses firearms from the Canadian market.
- While the ban was a crucial first step, it is only one of a series of measures that our Government is taking to target gun crime in this country.
- We know that most gun crime in our major cities is committed by gangs using handguns.
- That is why we have committed to working with provinces and territories to enable municipalities to further restrict or ban handguns and we will establish a dedicated funding stream for cities to fight gang violence and support prevention programs to keep youth-at-risk out of the criminal justice system.
- We also intend to impose tougher penalties for trafficking and smuggling offences and make important investments in the RCMP and CBSA to target cross-border smuggling and prevent these illegal firearms from entering the country and getting into the hands of criminals.
- In addition to these initiatives, our Government will also strengthen firearms storage requirements to deter theft, enhance police tracing capacity and introduce measures to reduce gender-based violence and suicide by temporarily removing firearms from individuals who pose a danger to themselves and those around them, including their partners or kids.
- These measures are top priority for this government and we will bring them forward at the earliest opportunity.
If pressed on buyback:
- We are looking at a range of options, and will work with Parliament, as well as provincial and territorial partners to get this right for law-abiding gun owners and businesses while making sure that program costs are well-priced and sustainable.
- To assist in meeting this dual objective, my Department has published an amended request for proposals (RFP) on October 16 to obtain professional for the provision of advice on options and approaches to further inform and build upon ongoing efforts to develop of a buy-back program. Specifically, this advice would focus on firearms pricing models, as well as on the design, implementation and management of a buy-back program for recently prohibited firearms.
- This amended RFP is reflective of the feedback we have received from prospective bidders following the conclusion of the previous solicitation process which, unfortunately, did not yield to the selection of a successful bidder.
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 May 1, 2020, the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted were amended to prescribe as prohibited approximately 1,500 models of firearms and their variants, along with upper receivers for some newly-prohibited firearms. Of those, nine principal models of assault-style firearms are prohibited as they have semi-automatic action with sustained rapid-fire capability (tactical military design with large magazine capacity), are of modern design, and are present in large volumes in the Canadian market. Also included are two categories of firearm that exceed safe civilian use: firearms with 20 mm bore or greater or with a muzzle energy of greater than 10,000 Joules.
Designing a Buyback Program: Request for Proposal and Way Forward
In August 2020, Public Safety Canada published a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking professional services for the development of advice on options and approaches to inform firearms pricing models, as well as the design, implementation and management of a buyback program for recently prohibited firearms. The original RFP closed on September 9. Unfortunately, the bid evaluation process did not yield to the identification of a winning bidder. This is an unfortunate yet not uncommon outcome in the sphere of public procurement. Public Safety has redeveloped the RFP based on extensive consultations with the Industry, and launched the new RFP on October 16. This RFP is set to close on November 10, and should lead to a contract award sometime in the late November timeframe.
The RFP is built in two phases. The first focuses on developing pricing and compensation models and design options. The second, determined through a task authorization process, will focus on the implementation, while the exact tasks and scope will be further refined with the successful contractor and will be based upon the outcomes of phase 1. Overseeing the storage, transportation and destruction of confiscated firearms would not be services covered under the current RFP. The contractor is expected to complete extensive research in order to develop various options required under the contract, and may be privy to some personal information. To that extent, the security clearance requirements have been established accordingly.
Both Public Safety Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be ready to work with and assist the winning bidder to advance its work as expeditiously as possible.
The cross-border smuggling of firearms poses a threat to the safety and security of Canada. Given the availability of firearms in the United States, including firearms that are strictly controlled or prohibited in Canada, most seizures happen at the Canada-US land border. The CBSA seizes large quantities of firearms every year from U.S. citizens, mostly from non-compliant travellers attempting to retain their personal firearms while travelling. There is no doubt, however, that there are firearms entering the country undetected, as evidenced through gun crimes in Canada that involve illicit firearms.
The CBSA is leveraging investments made through the Initiative to Take Action against Gun and Gang Violence, to enhance its capacity to stem the flow of inadmissible travellers and illegal firearms entering Canada at vulnerable points of entry and through postal facilities. It is also procuring equipment to enhance air cargo security and pallet imaging, enhancing intelligence collection and production abilities, and improving border operations through measures aimed at enhancing the CBSA’s capacity to detect and interdict illegal firearms at the border.
Guns and Gangs
The Government has made federal investments of up to $327.6 million over five years, and $100 million ongoing, to establish the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence. The majority of resources, approximately $214 million over 5 years is allocated to provinces and territories (PTs) to combat the issue of gun and gang violence in communities across Canada. These resources complement existing efforts under the National Crime Prevention Strategy through the Youth Gang Prevention Fund, which received additional $8 million over four years beginning 2019.
Twelve PTs have signed multi-year funding agreements under the GGVAF. Prince Edward Island is currently engaged in the signature process for their contribution agreement. Jurisdictions have prioritized a number of initiatives including:
- Ontario has launched Justice Centres holding individuals accountable for their offences while connecting them to services (such as health, mental health, addictions, housing, and employment supports) that reduce the risk of re-offending;
- Québec is developing an approach to street work in Aboriginal communities via a pilot project to support communities and increase the protectives factors for Aboriginal youth; and
- Nunavut is raising public awareness of firearm safety and the root causes of violence and mental health challenges through a multi-faceted educational campaign.
The Government also provided $86 million to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Border Services Agency to enhance firearms investigations and strengthen controls at the border to prevent illegal firearms from entering the country.
Prepared by: [Redacted], A/Manager, Policy Development, Guns and Gangs, [Redacted]
Prepared by: [Redacted], A/Director, [Redacted] (Buyback Program)
Approved by: Trevor Bhupsingh, A/Assistant Deputy Minister, Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch, 613-990-2703
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