Montreal could adopt a motion to pressure Ottawa to ban assault weapons and handguns
The City of Montreal is planning to ask the federal government to issue a sweeping ban on handguns and assault rifles across the country.
Alex Norris, chair of the city’s public security commission, is expected to table a motion at a council meeting next Monday requesting Ottawa strengthen its gun control bill, C-71.
“We believe there is no good reason that a law-abiding citizen of Canada needs to own a handgun or assault rifle,” said Norris.
“These are weapons that are designed to kill people.”
The motion says Montreal’s council should ask Ottawa to prohibit all “private possession of assault rifles and handguns, except in the case of the Canadian Armed Forces, police forces and other authorities mandated to possess firearms … under restrictions imposed by [governments].”
A nationwide ban would be “very helpful” in the fight against gun violence in Canada, said Norris.
“We don’t want to go down the route the United States has gone, where citizens can’t walk the streets feeling safe, where the threat of gun violence is ever present,” he said.
“We need to take strong measures now to make Canadian cities safer, and we’re hoping that the prime minister and his cabinet will reflect very seriously on what we’re proposing and introduce these changes to their bill.”
In addition, the motion requests better screening of applicants who wish to acquire firearms legally.
“In far too many cases, people who were clearly unstable, had violent or suicidal tendencies had been allowed to obtain weapons that unfortunately they later used against human beings,” Norris explained.
The councillor referenced tragedies in Quebec, including the Polytechnique massacre and the Quebec city mosque shooting.
“We want to put an end to these incidents. We want to do everything that we can to restrict public access to these very lethal weapons,” Norris said.
Norris says the move is also in solidarity with Fredericton and Toronto following the recent deadly shootings in those cities.
Norris joins Toronto mayor John Tory in the call for stricter gun control in the country.
After the Danforth shooting last July, Tory called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to enact a handgun ban in Toronto, among other requests to toughen up gun laws.
Trudeau told reporters in northwestern Quebec on Wednesday that his government is “listening attentively” to the council motions from the nation’s two largest cities.
“There have been a number of events over the past weeks and months, tragedies that have people reflecting on what more we can do to protect citizens and keep communities safe,” he said.
The motion is expected to go through a vote on Monday at Montreal’s city council.
—With files from The Canadian Press
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