(Clockwise from top left) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party of Canada; Leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party of Canada; Leader Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Party of Canada; Leader Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada
Question 3: Do you and your party intend to enact further firearms controls in Canada? If yes, what would they be, and why?
TRUDEAU: Our government remains concerned about increasing firearm violence in Canada. Gun homicides have doubled in recent years, and we will consider any and all options to keep Canadian families and their communities safe.
Our common-sense legislation is a measured and appropriate response that will save lives, while also being fair to legitimate, law-abiding firearms owners and businesses. We delivered on our electoral promise to better keep illegal firearms off our streets by passing Bill C-71, which the former president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police called “essential.” Its practical and targeted steps to help keep Canadians safe include:
Expanding background checks to cover the full life of applicants seeking a firearms licence, up from only the previous five years;
Requiring verification to ensure that anyone buying or taking ownership of a non-restricted firearm holds a valid licence;
Standardizing best practices among commercial retailers for retaining sales records of non-restricted firearms;
Increasing safeguards for the transportation of restricted and prohibited firearms; and
Returning the responsibility of firearms classification to impartial experts.
Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, led a comprehensive review on a potential ban on handguns and assault-style rifles. As part of this review, our government engaged with Canadians and experts across multiple forums—their views will help us determine the next steps towards any possible changes to firearms legislation, all while respecting law-abiding gun owners. Our consultations built on the numerous initiatives already taken, including investing in the Canadian Border Services Agency and RCMP to help prevent firearms from coming into the country illegally, and providing necessary resources for firearms investigations.
We are always looking at ways to make our communities safe from gun violence. We will seek a mandate from Canadians for any further steps we propose to take.
SCHEER: We have a plan to crack down on gangs, fight illegal firearms smuggling and ensure the police have the tools they need to keep us safe. However, we will never bring in laws that punish law-abiding gun owners.
SINGH: Too many lives have been lost in Canadian cities to rising gun crime. We will work to keep assault weapons and illegal handguns off our streets, and to tackle gun smuggling and organized crime. New Democrats have long said that regulations governing firearms need to be updated to match changing technology in order to protect Canadians from gun violence. However, we will always consider and address the legitimate concerns of rural and northern communities, and ensure that police have the tools they need to keep our streets safe. We are not looking to make this a wedge issue, as was done by previous Liberal and Conservative governments.
MAY: The Green Party supports more rigorous regulation and restrictions on non-hunting firearms. We support a crackdown on the smuggling of illegal handguns across the U.S.-Canada border, stricter storage and transportation laws (for both individuals and retailers) and strengthening the requirements for a Possession and Acquisition Licence. There are those who use pistols for target shooting, and that can be allowed.