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Submission to the Engagement Process on Reducing Violent Crime: A dialogue on handguns and assault weapons


As per his mandate letter from the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction (“the Minister”), has launched an examination of a ban on handguns and assault-style rifles in Canada. To this end, the Minister is engaging with Canadians to identify gaps, challenges and ideas to help inform future measures aimed at reducing violent crimes in Canada. The OFOVC welcomes the opportunity to provide input into this engagement process with the aim of ensuring that perspectives on victimization are included in the dialogue.

The dialogue on handguns and assault-style rifles is an important one. I am in support of a total ban on these types of weapons, as it could be an effective option for reducing crime involving firearms, helping to keep Canadians safe, and reducing victimization. In addition to my recommendations, the OFOVC is also supportive of those made to the Government by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) in relation to its study Bill C-71.

Summary of recommendations

  • Recommendation 1: Implement a total ban on handguns and assault-style rifles, in conjunction with a buyback program.

  • Recommendation 2: Take into consideration the link between firearms and gender-based violence (GBV), including human trafficking, in the dialogue on guns.

  • Recommendation 3: Enhance federal leadership on providing supports and treatment to victims of gun violence to ensure victim restoration.

  • Recommendation 4: Further limit transportation authorizations for restricted and prohibited firearms.

  • Recommendation 5: Restore controls on sales of non-restricted firearms requiring that gun dealers record the firearm sales of rifles and shotguns.

  • Recommendation 6: Bring into force the Firearms Marking Regulations.

  • Recommendation 7: Invest in data collection and research on firearm violence in Canada in order to better determine its individual and collective consequences.

  • Recommendation 8: Broaden the dialogue to include all types of firearms.

The Ombudsman’s complete submission is available here.