Talking Points

November 21, 2018

Talking Points

A Safer Canada: Gun Laws That Target Criminals

ISSUE:

Today, Andrew Scheer unveiled the second of his three-part plan for A Safer Canada.  Called Gun Laws That Target Criminals, part two of the plan contains seven new policy measures to get tough on the criminals who use guns to commit violence: 

  • Prison time for knowingly possessing a smuggled gun
  • Tackling “straw purchases”
  • Create a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force
  • Temporary gun seizures for detained mental health patients
  • Lifetime firearms ban for violent and gang criminals
  • New penalties for selling guns to prohibited users
  • New tools for police to solve gun crimes 

The first pillar, called Cracking Down on Gangs, includes new policy measures to combat gang crime and help make our communities safer.  In the coming weeks, Mr. Scheer will announce the third policy pillar in his plan for A Safer Canada.

KEY MESSAGES:

  • Conservatives believe a government’s responsibility to protect its citizens is its most sacred.
  • Justin Trudeau’s approach to guns fails to address the real problem – criminals who use guns to commit violence.  A blanket handgun ban will do nothing to curb gun violence and will instead only make criminals out of law-abiding firearms owners.
  • Canadians must feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.  A Conservative government will put criminals with guns behind bars for a long time.
  • Our firearms laws will get illegal guns out of our communities and make sure that they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
  • Together with our plan to crack down on gangs, and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, we will show Canadians that a Conservative government is ready to put their safety and security first.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Andrew Scheer’s plan consists of the following proposals:

  1. Prison time for knowingly possessing a smuggled gun

The vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms.  A particularly high number are committed with firearms illegally smuggled into the country.  There is no legitimate reason to be in possession of a firearm that has been smuggled into Canada.  That is why a Conservative government under Andrew Scheer will ensure that anyone who is knowingly in possession of a smuggled gun is sent to federal prison.

  1. Tackling “straw purchases”

Law enforcement and municipal leaders have flagged concerns around guns purchased legally being diverted into the hands of criminals.  A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that anyone found to engage in this behaviour will face serious consequences, including prison time and a lifetime ban from owning firearms.

  1. Create a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force

Many guns used in crime are illegally smuggled into Canada by organized crime.  A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will create a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force.  This task force will oversee an increase of frontline officers, deployment of new technology, and further use of criminal intelligence.  They will also be authorized to work with law enforcement counterparts on both sides of the border to identify smuggling routes, and ensure that smugglers and those employing them are put behind bars where they belong.

  1. Temporary gun seizures for detained mental health patients

It is important to ensure that individuals who are mentally unstable do not have access to firearms.  Provinces have established legislation relating to detaining individuals experiencing mental health distress for their own protection.  However, there is a patchwork approach between provinces as to how those who have firearms licenses are dealt with.  A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that any firearms owner detained under provincial mental health legislation will immediately have their firearms seized.  They will be able to apply, after a period of time, to have their property returned if they can demonstrate that their condition has stabilized.

  1. Lifetime firearms ban for violent and gang criminals

Gun laws need to target criminals, not law-abiding gun owners.  Individuals who have demonstrated serious violent behaviour or have been involved in gang activity have forfeited the right to ever be trusted to own a firearm.  A Conservative government by Andrew Scheer will make lifetime firearms bans mandatory for all serious personal injury offences and gang crimes.

  1. New penalties for selling guns to prohibited users

When the courts decide that an individual should never be trusted to own a firearm, government should uphold that decision. Any individual who knowingly provides a firearm to an individual who is the subject of a gun ban is committing a serious crime.  A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will ensure that these individuals face serious prison time and that they themselves will be prohibited from owning a firearm for life.

  1. New tools for police to solve gun crime

Law enforcement agencies across Canada have continually said that they face challenges getting convictions for firearms crime.  A Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer will take steps to improve this situation by encouraging firearms manufacturers to improve traceability, require the submission of ballistic data on crime guns, and by ensuring that the RCMP crime lab is appropriately resourced.

Click here for Talking Points in French