Rifles like the AR-15 are restricted in Canada. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Canadian gun control advocates ramp up pressure after Christchurch

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks and New Zealand’s rapid legislative response, Canadian gun control advocates are increasing their efforts to get Ottawa to follow suit.

“The government of New Zealand has swiftly and responsibly responded to the atrocities…by almost immediately committing to ban the type of weapons that facilitate such extreme violence,” Natalie Provost told CBC News.

Provost is a survivor of the 1989 gun massacre at École Polytechnique in Montreal in which 14 women were shot and killed.

Provost’s view was echoed by Heidi Rathjen, a coordinator with the gun control group PolySeSouvient, in a CBC interview.

There’s a lack of consistent data on the origin of guns used in crime in Canada – and no national effort to collect accurate numbers. (Robert Short/CBC)

“The huge difference is that New Zealand is acting and Canada is not–and yet we have a government that promised to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets,” Rathjen said.

“The Liberals are so terrified of this. The public is in favour of a ban but they’re terrified of the gun lobby, which is extremely active and threatening in terms of elections and votes.”

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, moved quickly following the mosque attacks, issuing a cabinet order that bans people in her country from owning semi-automatic firearms and semi-automatic firearms capable of use with a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds.

She is also moving to a ban on gun accessories like bump stocks that enable a firearm to discharge ammunition faster.

Canadian police say weapons purchased legally often end up in the hands of criminal gangs. (Andy Clark/Reuters)

Firearms commonly used by farmers and hunters, such as rifles with small, non-detachable magazines–will be permitted.

Canadian activists want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to pass what the activists see as mainly timid reforms in Bill C-71 and then move to more controversial changes, such as a handgun ban.

Possession of fully automatic firearms is prohibited in Canada, any would-be gun owner must submit to a background check and Canadians must register restricted firearms, including handguns, with police.

With files from CBC

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2 comments on “Canadian gun control advocates ramp up pressure after Christchurch
  1. Avatar Vlad Gabbog says:

    Assault rifles – already banned in Canada. Bump Stocks – already banned in Canada. Rifle magazines over 5 rounds – already banned in Canada. What will further bans do to protect Canadians when the criminals aren’t paying attention to the bans? Nothing! Most of the crime guns are coming from across the border. Hamilton police told us that 80% of the guns they seize are smuggled in. Peel police just stopped another drug/gun smuggler who had 26 firearms along with coke, heroin and fent. PolySeSouvient has been dancing on the same graves for decades trying to get attention and stay relevant.

  2. Avatar Michael Fodor says:

    I’m not sure that hastily enacting laws to ban certain firearms without the consultation of NZ citizens can be defined as “responsible”. Criminalizing 300,000 NZ citizens for the actions of one Australian is not quite responsible law-making. Ramming it through the law making process just makes a mockery of the democratic process. Yes I know there is an amnesty, but it’s just a fancy word for robbery when one has to surrender property in order to avoid a penalty. Also a buy back will cost up NZ$140 million, which could be better spent on improving the police intelligence capabilities, because the next lunatic may choose a motor vehicle, bomb or other clever idea. Because it’s been done elsewhere already.