Trudeau open to improving gun bill as Polytechnique survivors call for change

Click to play video: 'Bill Blair says gun ownership in Canada is ‘a privilege, not a right’' Bill Blair says gun ownership in Canada is ‘a privilege, not a right’
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Tuesday in response to new gun control measures announced by the federal government that in Canada, firearm ownership is "a privilege, not a right" and further added that "“We do not arm ourselves in this country to protect ourselves from our fellow citizens. We rely on the rule of law, not the end of a gun, for our safety.” – Feb 16, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is confident the Liberal government’s approach to gun control is the right one, but added he’s open to hearing suggestions for improvement.

Trudeau hinted today at a willingness to modify recently tabled legislation after family members of women killed in the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre denounced the bill as a dismal effort that would not make society safer.

Read more: Trudeau ‘a traitor’ unless gun bill overhauled, say families of Polytechnique victims

The families, survivors of the mass shooting and witnesses said in a letter to the prime minister this week he would no longer be welcome at annual commemorations unless his government strengthens the bill.

The legislation proposes a buyback of many recently banned firearms the government considers assault-style weapons, but owners would be allowed to keep them under strict conditions, including registration and secure storage of the guns.

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Click to play video: 'Trudeau unveils ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program' Trudeau unveils ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program
Trudeau unveils ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program – Feb 16, 2021

The letter to Trudeau says the buyback must be mandatory to ensure the measure cannot be easily overturned by the Conservatives, should they form government, given the party’s opposition to the firearms ban.

The legislation would also allow municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation — a move the letter says would create an ineffective patchwork of laws across the country.

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