Government of Canada introduces new firearms legislation to protect Canadian communities
February 17, 2021
Canadians are concerned about rising firearm-related violence. Provinces and territories - as well as some large urban centres and First Nations communities – have identified firearm-related violence as a significant public safety issue in Canada. Some municipalities have raised risks posed by handguns and assault-style firearms.
The Government has introduced new firearms legislation to keep Canadians safe and guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Through legislation and other actions the Government will:
- Combat intimate partner and gender-based violence, and self-harm involving firearms by creating “red flag” and “yellow flag” laws. These laws would allow people, such as concerned friends or relatives, to apply to the courts for the immediate removal of an individual’s firearms, or to ask a Chief Firearms Officer to suspend and review an individual’s licence to own firearms.
- Fight gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties, and by enhancing the capacity of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency to combat the illegal importation of firearms.
- Help create safer communities by supporting municipalities that ban handguns through bylaws restricting storage and transportation in their jurisdictions. Individuals who violate these municipal by-laws would be subject to federal penalties, including licence revocation and criminal sanctions.
- Give young people the opportunities and resources they need to avoid criminal behaviour by providing funding to municipalities and Indigenous communities to support youth programs.
- Protect Canadians from gun violence by creating new offences for altering the cartridge magazine component of a firearm and depicting violence in firearms advertising, introducing tighter restrictions on imports of ammunition, and ensuring the prohibition of imports, exports, sales, and transfers of all replica firearms.
- Complete the prohibition of assault-style firearms to ensure these weapons cannot be legally used, transported, sold, transferred, or bequeathed by individuals in Canada. We also intend to move forward with a buyback program in the coming months to support the safe removal of these firearms from our communities.
This legislation builds on previous measures to keep guns out of our communities, including prohibiting assault-style firearms and providing $327.6 million through the Initiative To Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence to support provincial, territorial and community-level prevention and enforcement efforts to tackle the increase in gun-related violence and gang activity.
“Communities are the heart of Canada and Canadians need to know that they can live, work and play safely in their own community. The new legislation we introduced will help build on the practical and targeted measures we have taken to protect Canadians from firearms violence.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"While we are working with residents and our partners to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also committed to addressing and responding to the devastating effects of gun violence on too many families in our neighborhood. The root causes of gun violence are complex, and will continue to require all of us to engage and participate in creating safer communities. We welcome the legislative changes introduced by Minister Blair, as they aim to reduce the harms of gun violence perpetrated in our neighbourhoods.”
- Paulo Gebreyesus, Executive Director, Regent Park Community Health Centre
In 2019, the Government of Canada announced $65 million for the Province of Ontario under the Initiative To Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence
There were over 99,000 victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) in Canada in 2018. Firearms were present in over 500 IPV incidents. Women accounted for almost 8 in 10 victims of all IPV incidents and they were even more likely to be the victim in the more than 500 IPV incidents where a firearm was present.
The rates of violent and non-violent offences specific to firearms increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2019. The number of violent offences specific to firearms increased by 21% (an increase of 642 from 2,861 to 3,503).
Statistics Canada reports the use of firearms in homicides increased from 30% in 2009 to 40% in 2019.
Break and enter for the purposes of stealing a firearm continue to increase. Police reported just over one-third of these offences involved breaking into a motor vehicle for the purpose of stealing a firearm. The remainder involved breaking and entering into another location, the majority of which were private residences.
- Prime Minister announces new firearms measures to combat crime and increase public safety
- Prime Minister announces ban on assault-style firearms
- Royal Assent of legislation; strengthening gun laws to keep communities safe
- New investments to help end gun and gang violence in Canada
- Major new federal funding and summit to tackle gun violence and gang activity
- Bill C-21: An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms)
- Police-reported intimate partner violence in Canada, 2018
- Victims of police-reported intimate partner and non-intimate partner violence, by sex of victim, type of weapon present and level of injury, Canada, 2018
- Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2019
- Police-reported crime increases in 2019
- Number and percentage of homicide victims, by type of firearm used to commit the homicide
- Firearms and violent crime in Canada, 2016
- It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence (the Strategy)
- Fall Economic Statement 2020
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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