Gun massacre survivors, family members press Liberals for stronger laws
Representatives call on Trudeau government to fulfil 2015 campaign promises on gun control measures
Kathleen Harris · CBC News · 16 minutes ago
Meaghan Hennigan, a survivor of the shootings at Dawson College in 2006, says she is disappointed in the Liberal government's progress on gun control laws to date. (CBC)
Survivors and family members of victims of gun massacres in Canada are on Parliament Hill in Ottawa today to press the federal government for tougher firearms laws.
Representatives of those affected by the École Polytechnique, Dawson College and Quebec mosque mass shootings want the Liberal government to provide a precise timetable for the tabling of a gun control bill.
They are holding a news conference at 9 a.m. ET and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.
The representatives said they are losing hope that the government will table legislation by the end of 2017 as promised, and outlined the human costs of what they called "weak" laws related to possession permits, gun sales and the availability of assault weapons, which include most of the models used in recent mass shootings south of the border.
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1 million restricted, prohibited weapons in Canada
Meaghan Hennigan, who survived two gunshots in 2006 at Dawson College, said she is disappointed in the Liberal progress on gun control to date.
"Most Canadians would be shocked to learn that the guns used in recent mass shootings in the United States are freely available for private ownership in Canada," she said. "Many assault weapons are unrestricted. It's ridiculously messed up. These are the kinds of weapons an individual can seriously injure or kill above 50 people within a mere matter of minutes."
Election promises on gun control
During the 2015 election campaign, the Liberals promised sweeping measures to "get handguns and assault weapons off our streets." They included:
Enhanced background checks for gun buyers.
Stronger record-keeping requirements for sellers.
Tougher transport rules.
Investment in task forces tackling illegal firearms.
Scott Bardsley, spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said the government will be introducing a legislative package "consistent with the measures laid out in our election platform" in the near future.
"The government believes in effective firearms measures that prioritize public safety while ensuring fair treatment for law-abiding firearms owners," he said.
Bardsley said the government has already taken steps to toughen gun control including:
Reversing a ministerial directive that allowed gun manufacturers to determine the classification of their own products.
Established a more balanced Firearms Advisory Committee that represents a broad range of interests.
Tabled Bill C-52 to permit the sharing of the Quebec-related portion of the remaining non-restricted firearms registration records with that province.
Announced $327.6 million over five years, and $100 million each year after, in funding to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities.
Earlier this year, CBC News reported there are now more than a million restricted and prohibited firearms across the country.
The number of restricted firearms in Canada rose 5.5 per cent in 2016, reaching its highest point in more than a decade, according to the annual report from the RCMP's commissioner of firearms. There are now 839,295 restricted firearms, many of them handguns.
The number of prohibited firearms in Canada, such as fully automatic guns, edged up half a per cent to 183,333.
Gun control advocates are on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday to press the Liberal government to fulfil 2015 campaign promises. (Peggy Lam/CBC)
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