At a news conference on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlines details of his government’s new firearms legislation (C-21), which includes introducing a voluntary buyback program for banned “assault-style” weapons, increasing criminal penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking, and allowing municipalities to ban handguns. The prime minister is joined virtually by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Justice Minister David Lametti, as well as Joël Lightbound, the parliamentary secretary to the public safety minister. They face questions on the cost and effectiveness of the buyback program and support for municipal governments that institute a ban on handguns.
The federal government’s planned buyback program would offer fair market value for the 1,500 types of military-grade assault-style weapons banned in May 2020. C-21 would allow owners to keep those prohibited weapons, subject to conditions that includes no permitted use, no import, no further acquisition, no sale, and no bequeathal. The prime minister also comments on Canada’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. (February 16, 2021)