“When we know this will do little to reduce the problem of violent crime in Canada, when it comes to illegally obtained firearms.
In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on 1,550 makes and models of “assault-type” weapons in Canada. A two-year amnesty period was granted before Canadians were required to dispose of arms.
In making the announcement, the Prime Minister said that assault-type weapons “have no place” in Canada.
“These weapons were designed with one goal and one goal: to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” he said at the time.
Instead of banning assault-type weapons, Rempel Garner’s petition calls on the government to crack down on illegally obtained firearms, specifically targeting the prevention of smuggling firearms across the U.S. border.
“Canada has one of the most stringent firearms licensing regimes in the world,” she said.
“When we look at the very important issue of gun violence prevention in Canada, we need to look at where the firearms used in violent crime come from and we know that the vast majority of these are obtained illegally and primarily smuggled. the United States. “
Lawyer says guns are ‘designed to kill’
Heidi Rathjen, a gun control activist and survivor of the 1989 Polytechnic massacre, rejected Rempel Garner’s petition, saying banned weapons were “designed to kill.”
“There is no legitimate justification for allowing this kind of power in the hands of ordinary civilians. These weapons belong to the army. They are weapons of war, ”said Rathjen.
“They’re not necessary for hunting or even for practicing legitimate targets… they’re civilian versions of military weapons that, you know, many, if not most, have been on the market over the past two decades. ”
After the Polytechnic massacre, Rathjen said students at the school collected more than 500,000 signatures on a paper petition, hand-signed and collected by regular mail, over a period of four months.
“But again, petitions are one thing. I think what really matters is what the audience wants, ”said Rathjen. “A majority of Canadians support the ban on assault weapons. I think the Liberal government acted democratically by passing these orders in council.
As Parliament is currently prorogued until September 23, Rempel Garner will have to wait to table the petition.
“As this is an official parliamentary petition, the government is obligated to respond to all signatories on it,” she said.
“So I think the government is going to have to think very carefully about its response, because there are a lot of people in Canada who cross political borders who are concerned about this issue and are not satisfied with the government’s response. ”
According to a spokesperson in the House of Commons, Rempel Garner’s petition has surpassed all other petitions on the number of signatures since the launch of the new e-petitions system in 2015.
Historically, however, a number of paper petitions have also obtained a large number of signatures, including an anti-abortion petition in 1975 that contained over a million signatures. This contradicts Rempel Garner’s claim on social media that his is the largest parliamentary petition in Canadian history.
As part of the e-petition platform, signatories are required to enter a valid email address and click on a link sent to that address, and additional monitoring tools are in place to ensure the integrity of signatures, said the spokesperson.