Ensemble Montreal, the official opposition, is calling for a motion to effectively control firearms in Montreal.
On Wednesday, the opposition said in a press conference they are calling on the federal government to ban the private possession of handguns. They say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to ban assault weapons without grandfather clause is a step in the right direction, but offloading the responsibility to municipalities is a bad idea.
“This approach would not only be ineffective, but it would also be unrealistic,” said Heidi Rathjen, an anti-gun activist and witness of the 1989 École Polytechnique shooting.
“Gun control is a criminal issue, criminal issues are a federal jurisdiction and so measures to control guns should ideally be at the federal level whenever possible.”
According to Statistics Canada, the number of handguns in the country has doubled in the last seven years.
On March 20, 2018 the federal government introduced a gun bill aimed at tightening control of sales and licensing.
Gun retailers would be required to keep records of firearms inventory and sales for at least 20 years under government legislation introduced today.
The proposed measure — part of a wide-ranging firearms bill tabled in the House of Commons — is intended to assist police in investigating gun trafficking and other crimes.
Trudeau vowed to ban assault rifles if re-elected on Sept. 20, 2019.
Ensemble Montreal hopes the government will follow through on its promises, but insists the responsibility not be given to municipalities to restrict or ban handguns. That, they said, would cause gun lobbyists to fight back and “cities do not have the time and money to do that,” according to Rathjen.
“If we don’t reverse this proliferation of hand guns we may reach a point of no return if we haven’t already” Rathjen.
— With files from Global’s Amanda Connolly and The Canadian Press