Government Measures to Reduce Gun Violence

Date: March 18, 2021
Classification: Unclassified
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: CSCCB/Public Safety

Proposed Response:

Main Estimates 2021-22 seeks:


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.

Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms)

Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms) was introduced on February 16, 2021. The Bill introduces amendments to the Criminal Code to:

It also introduce amendments to the Firearms Act to:

Prohibition of Assault-Style Firearms

On May 1, 2020, the Government announced the prohibition of over 1500 models of firearms, and a its intention to subsequently bring forwards a buy-back program to compensate affected owners. Under the Amnesty Order that accompanied the prohibition, affected owners may, at any time before the end of the amnesty on 30 April 2022, choose to dispose of their firearm in one of the following ways: deactivate it so it is no longer a firearm; deliver it to a police officer for destruction or disposal, without compensation; export the firearm in accordance with all legal requirements; or, if a business, return the firearm to its manufacturer. The non-permissive storage option, once in place, would complement these options. Work on the buy-back program is underway.

The non-permissive storage option proposed within Bill C-21 is more restrictive than past regimes. Owners under the new provisions could keep their firearms, but not use them and cannot buy additional firearms from others within the pool, or sell, trade or bequeath them. To be eligible for the non-permissive storage option, owners will need to pay an increased licence fee and to provide information on their storage arrangements. When the owner’s firearms licence is no longer valid, the firearms will be disposed of in accordance with the law. Owners of prohibited firearms also always have the option to dispose of firearms through export, deactivation, or permanent modification to render the firearm non prohibited. Firearms owners will be responsible for meeting all eligibility criteria for non-permissive storage, and for maintaining a valid licence.

In addition to provisions for firearms owners impacted by the May 1, 2020 prohibition, existing provisions in the Firearms Act that allow for grandfathering of prohibited firearms by regulation would be updated. Specifically, the amended provisions will ensure the Governor-in-Council (GIC) can allow the non-permissive storage of firearms by regulation regardless of their previous classification (either non-restricted and restricted), but subject to the new “non-permissive” conditions.

Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence

Budget 2018 announced $327.6 million over five years and $100 million in ongoing funding to establish the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV). This funding included $214 million for provinces and territories (PTs) to fund targeted initiatives to reduce gun and gang crime in their communities. It also included $86 million in funding for the RCMP and CBSA to enhance their capacity to detect and disrupt gun smuggling.

Through the November 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government committed an additional $250 million over 5 years, starting in 2021-22, for municipalities, community-led initiatives and Indigenous communities, to support anti-gang programming. This funding complements the Government’s previous investment under the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence and previous investments as part of Youth Gang Prevention Fund under the National Crime Prevention Strategy.


Prepared by: {REDACTED}, Policy Advisor, Firearms and Operational Policing Policy Division, {REDACTED}
Approved by: Talal Dakalbab, Assistant Deputy Minister, Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch, 613-852-1167

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