March 1st, 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.
Our government is working together with partners and allies to combat the scourge of gun and gang violence in Surrey. That’s why, this afternoon, Randeep Sarai, the Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, along with the Honourable Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on preventing gang violence in Surrey. In attendance, there were representatives from the federal government, the City of Surrey, law enforcement, academia, and youth and community organizations.
Through legislation introduced in February 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 license 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.
In the Fall Economic Statement 2020, the government also committed to support municipalities, community-led initiatives, and Indigenous communities by providing $250 million in dedicated funding over five years to support anti-gang programs for young people.
“The prevalence of gang violence has impacted our community for decades and we must continue working together to fight against this becoming our norm. That’s why I’m pleased to have hosted a productive roundtable discussion with a wide range of partners and allies to help us form a clear picture of the issue by allowing us to address what’s working, and what’s not.”
- Randeep Sarai, the Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre
“Communities are the heart of Canada and Canadians need to know that they can live, work and play safely in their own communities. 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
- 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.