Ban on military assault weapons
February 15th was the deadline for petition E-2341 sponsored by Conservative MP Glen Motz. The petition calls on the Government “to put any new firearms laws, bans, buyback programs or changes to licencing before the House of Commons to be debated” and claims that the use of Orders in Council is “an egregious overreach of executive authorities, bypassing the democratic process”.
Here are a few points to consider:
- The Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party all ran in the last election on the promise to ban assault weapons. Canadians elected a clear majority (216 out of 338 seats, or 64%) of members of parliament from parties in favour of tougher gun control, including banning assault weapons.
- Professional polls consistently show a majority of Canadians in favour of banning assault weapons: Environics: 81% ; Angus Reid Institute: 74% ; H+K Strategies: 83% ; Research Co. (B.C.): 86%.
- The authority to prohibit or restrict firearms through Orders in Council has existed for decades (via article 117.15 of the Criminal Code).
- The gun lobby did not seem to mind — indeed they applauded — when Conservative Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney used Orders in Council to legalized the prohibited Swiss Arms and CZ-858 models via an initial amnesty followed by their permanent declassification on the eve of the 2015 election (making them restricted or non-restricted), despite the fact that the RCMP feared these weapons could be converted to automatic mode making them prohibited by law as well as a serious risk to public safety.