A petition to stop the Liberal government of Canada implementing a ban on “military-style assault rifles” has reached 153,000 signatures – well over six times bigger than any previous petition. The petition opened on Dec. 17, 2019, and will close on Feb. 15, 2020.
Prominent law enforcement officers have stated that a ban will have little effect. “When we seize handguns, the handguns are always, almost 100-percent, in the possession of people who have no legal right to possess them. They’re almost always stolen or illegally obtained,” said Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson Const. Rob Carver earlier this month.
In 2019, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police did not support the call for a ban on handguns. Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer, who heads the organization, said Canada already has strong firearms regulations and no other law is required.
Community groups in Toronto also agree, attributing the increase in crime in their city to poverty, racism, issues in the education system and lack of job opportunities, especially for young people.
“I don’t think the Liberals will be forced to withdraw their gun ban plans because of the petition, however, the opposition across the nation is overwhelming and undeniable.” Tracey Wilson, a gun rights advocate from the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, told the Post Millennial. “This could be the biggest mistake in their history.”
Wilson argues that a lack of evidence regarding whether crime would actually be reduced in addition to burdens placed on taxpayers is enough reason for Canadians to oppose the ban. She says funds would better serve other initiatives that support community outreach.
“It’s impossible to deny that those funds would be better allocated to community programs, at-risk youth interventions, anti-smuggling border technology and increased law enforcement funding,” Wilson said.