Montreal city council has unanimously adopted a motion asking 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, tabled the motion at a city council meeting on Monday, requesting Ottawa tighten its gun control bill, C-71.
“I’m so happy that it was unanimous,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
With the survivors of Quebec shootings present at the meeting, Plante said city councillors were reminded of why they are asking for a nationwide ban on handguns.
“We want to offer a safe city, safe spaces for all Montrealers,” said Plante.
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).”
In addition, the city is asking for better screening of applicants who wish to acquire firearms legally.
Norris told Global News last week a nationwide ban would be “very helpful” in the fight against gun violence in Canada.
“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 move is in solidarity with Fredericton and Toronto following the recent deadly shootings in those cities, according to Norris.
After the Danforth shooting last July, Toronto Mayor John Tory called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to enact a handgun ban in Toronto, among other requests to toughen up gun laws.
Trudeau has said his government is “listening attentively” to the council motions from the nation’s two largest cities.
A ‘big step’ for survivors of school shootings
A group of survivors and victims’ families from the École Polytechnique Massacre and the Dawson College shooting were on hand at the city council meeting to voice their support for the motion.
Meaghan Hennegan, who was shot outside the front doors of Dawson College in September 2006, said she was elated the motion was adopted unanimously. She said she hopes it pushes Ottawa to follow suit and tighten its gun laws.
“We are so happy that this is a big step towards getting the federal government to sit down and take a hard look at bill C-71 and see what has to change,” she said.
Montreal’s police union also released a statement applauding the motion, saying it is “always in favour of a strict control over the possession and circulation of firearms.”
“We support initiatives that reduce the flow of firearms in Montreal because they promote public safety,” said union president Yves Francoeur.
—With files from Global’s Cora MacDonald, Gloria Henriquez and the Canadian Press