Vancouver’s mayor says he would implement a ban on handguns in the city, if given the power by the federal government.
Kennedy Stewart made the comments Monday, after the city saw four people seriously injured in three shootings on the Downtown Eastside.
“We have heard through this federal election that there is the possibility that we could ban assault rifles, but more importantly, handguns,” said Stewart.
“Municipalities would have the ability to ban handguns, and that’s certainly something that I would support and act on right away if that power was given.”
Stewart was referring to a proposal by the Trudeau Liberals to ban “military-grade assault rifles,” including the AR-15, and to allow municipalities more powers to restrict or ban handguns within their boundaries.
“There’s no place for handguns in cities and we should get rid of them,” said Stewart.
WATCH: Where Canada’s political party leaders stand on gun control changes
Gun control has emerged as a campaign issue amid a surge of shootings in recent years in Toronto and Metro Vancouver.
A May, 2019 Angus Reid Institute poll found three-quarters of Canadians support a ban on assault rifles, while 60 per cent wanted to see a ban on handguns.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has argued that a blanket ban would punish law-abiding gun owners.
Instead, he is proposing prison time for people caught with a smuggled gun, a lifetime firearms ban for violent and gang-associated criminals, and a new Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) gun smuggling task force.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has previously said he opposes a national handgun ban, but said cities who want one should be allowed to implement one. He’s also called for more money and resources for the CBSA.
The Greens want a ban on handguns except for police or sport shooting use, and have proposed a handgun buyback.
Handgun laws in Canada
Canada’s laws around legal handguns are already strict.
Handguns are considered a restricted firearm under the Criminal Code, and require a restricted firearms licence to possess.
Owners may only possess them for target shooting practice and competition, as collectors items, or, in limited cases such as police work, for employment or protection of life.
Handguns must be stored with a trigger lock and inside of a locked container, vault or safe designed for gun safety.
Taking a handgun out of your home also requires an Authorization to Transport permit from your province’s chief firearms officer.
In that case, the gun must be unloaded, trigger-locked and in a locked container, and must never be left unattended in a vehicle.