Canada's liberal government introducing restrictive new gun laws because... Florida

In the wake of the Florida student shootings that have galvanized anti-gun Americans and Canadians, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale promised Thursday he will table legislation “within weeks” to complete Liberal gun-control election commitments.

Goodale said he was impressed by U.S. public reaction to the Parkland, Florida, shootings and subsequent decisions by at least two national retail chains in the U.S. to hike the gun-buying age to 21 or stop selling assault-style rifles.

In Canada, the national outdoor equipment retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op reacted quickly Thursday to a sudden and fast-growing online petition and announced it would discontinue lines of sport and outdoor accessory brands owned by a company that also owns Savage Arms Company, one of the biggest gun manufacturers in the U.S. that has a Canadian subsidiary.

“It’s amazing, the commercial and personal outpouring in response to the Florida situation, compared to others where that didn’t seem to happen,” Goodale said. “The impact of this one seems to be far more profound, and may bring about significant change in attitudes.”

Goodale first promised a bill to implement remaining Liberal gun control promises last October, in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, where a lone gunman used several semi-automatic rifles to kill 58 people at an outdoor music festival and injure another 850.

“We’re working on the final detail right now. It’s just about ready to go to the House, not quite, I hope to be table it in Parliament within the next very few weeks.” Goodale told iPolitics.

“Part of the difficulty in this period is we’ve got the budget process and we’ve got these two weeks on (in Parliament), two weeks off, two weeks on, which drives me crazy in terms of logistics,” he said.

Goodale said one of the Liberal promises that might need legislative amendments — a requirement for all vendors to keep records of firearm inventory and sales to assist in police investigations and gun crimes — is already a practice of firearm retailers.

“The requirement that is mentioned in the platform, with respect to commercial inventories, is no different than what (Canadian gun retailers) are already doing, it’s just normal commercial practice, normal practice that is the standard pretty well the right across North America, including places like Arkansas and Texas,” Goodale said.

Goodale last November announced $327 million over five years toward anti-gang programs and a crackdown on gun crime. The Liberal platform promised $100 million annually, but Goodale said the regular annual transfers would begin after the first five-year period ends, in 2012.

Legislative changes would be required for other aspects of the campaign platform, including tightening down on transport permits for prohibited firearms and restricted handguns and rifles, including assault-style semi-automatics that can only be used at licensed gun clubs and shooting ranges.

The Canadian Firearms Registry shows a total of 979 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles — the kind used in the Parkland shootings — registered to individuals, business and museums in Canada to the end of January, 2017.

A total of 6,756 AR-15 variants were registered up to that time, a copy of the registry shows, while an RCMP table released under an access to information request shows a total of 52,131 “AR-15 type rifles and variants” were registered up to the end of December, 2016.

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