Response to the Liberal Gun Ban Announcement

MP Duncan Responds to the Liberal Gun Ban Announcement

I have received numerous emails and messages on this issue, passionate in either opposing or supporting these measures.

I have taken some time since Friday’s official announcement to write a detailed message with my views on this issue. I apologize in advance for the length of my reply. However I want to ensure that I am consistent in my message to every constituent, regardless of where they stand on the subject, and to also be thoughtful in my response.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, I think it is important to agree that every Canadian genuinely wants to stop gun violence in Canada. The recent, horrific tragedy in Nova Scotia was a senseless act of violence, and we obviously all want to ensure that these types of crimes never happen in our country.

My views on the federal government’s new gun ban are echoed very well by Solomon Friedman, a criminal defence lawyer in Ottawa and an expert on the Firearms Act, who said this week in a CBC article that “I always say effective gun control is important but gun control theatre is worthless.”

I believe that this announcement is purely designed to look like a solution, but as flashy as it is to ban certain firearms, ask yourself, are criminals who use violence with guns suddenly going to trade their guns as part of a buy back program? Or are they now going to continue to find ways to subvert our laws and find ways around a ban like they have been for decades?

I have spoken already this week with numerous law-abiding firearms owners that use their guns legally, safely, and without incident for hunting and/or recreational shooting. Now, many of their safely stored and operated guns are banned. It will do nothing but turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals, while ignoring the fact that most weapons used by real criminals are smuggled into Canada.

To truly make our communities safer, we must do the hard work and take real, meaningful action.

The reality is, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Of note, the RCMP has confirmed that the Nova Scotia shooter used firearms obtained illegally in Canada and from U.S. sources to carry out his crimes.

I have and will always support common-sense firearms policies that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. Nothing the Liberal government announced this week addresses this problem.
According to Peel Region police in the GTA, 75% of illegal handguns seized are smuggled from the U.S., while Ottawa’s police chief has also acknowledged that firearms smuggled from the U.S. are the source of the majority of local gun crime.

I always state that while in public life, someone shouldn’t just be an ‘armchair critic’ and only attack proposals put forward. If you believe in reducing gun violence, you need to stand up and propose your own solutions.

I was proud to run on a Conservative platform that focuses on new gun safety laws and programs that will tangibly reduce gun violence, while respecting the millions of Canadians who safely use and store their firearms without any incident or harm. My Conservative colleagues and I want to see a plan that includes:

– Support for police anti-gang and gun units
– Youth prevention programs
– Action on rural crime
– Tougher sentences for violent offenders
– Support for courts and prosecutors
– CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force
– Increased access to mental health and addictions treatments

To give more substance to those items, here are some more even more, specific details:

– The creation of a CBSA firearms smuggling task force to work with local law enforcement on both sides of the border to interdict smuggled guns.
– The implementation of better information sharing processes to ensure that different police forces can more easily cooperate with each other and with the RCMP to track illegal firearms.
– Making possession of a smuggled firearm a criminal offence with a mandatory sentence of five years in prison.
– Keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals by ensuring that anyone who provides a firearm to someone who is prohibited from owning them faces up to 14 years in prison.

I will conclude my initial thoughts with my deep frustration that these changes were announced, and are being implemented, without our Parliament sitting in normal circumstances. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, I believe it is only appropriate to change major government policy transparently, especially in a minority government, and not during a global health pandemic.

Frankly, if the Prime Minister and the Liberals have the strength of their convictions, they should wait until the health crisis has passed and introduce legislation in the House of Commons, so that it can be debated, and Canadians’ voices can be heard.

As your Member of Parliament, I will never question anyone’s intentions and motives for wanting to reduce violence in Canada. Everyone shares that goal, and it is one we should all continue to strive for.

How we get there most effectively, and how to respect hundreds of thousands of safe, caring, and law-abiding gun owners is key. My Conservative colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that Canadians are safe and secure in their homes and in their communities.

This ban will not be effective and will only punish law-abiding gun owners, thousands of whom live right here in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. I will be opposing this ineffective ban and will continue to instead proposal meaningful and pragmatic solutions in the coming months.

I appreciate all the feedback that I have received on this sensitive issue. I hope my response provides you with my perspective, and the work I will be leading in the coming months.

Best regards, and stay well,

Eric Duncan, MP