SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Although the federal government has tabled legislation that would allow municipalities to ban handguns, a city councillor says Surrey has no plans to rush into such a decision.
Jack Hundial says responsible gun owners are typically not the ones to blame for violence.
“Generally it’s been my experience that for the vast majority of firearms that show up at crime scenes, they’re not from the responsible gun owners. It’s usually criminals, people who have a criminal past and intend to use those firearms,” he explained. “Often they’re stolen or illegally imported. So I think that needs to be part of a bigger conversation.”
Hundial, who is a gun owner himself, says he’d like to hear from people in the Surrey community, as well as police, before he decides whether to support a ban.
“I think we do need to get all the details, listen to the experts, and find out what is the root of these handguns getting into our community,” he said. “I know in the past, this has been discussed before, but ultimately it will be up to the residents to decide.”
The former RCMP officer believes the federal government’s legislation is not aimed at responsible gun owners, and he just wants to ensure legislation wouldn’t target them.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday the government tabled Bill C-21, which would enable municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation.
The bill still needs to pass a final vote, which is likely still months away.
Vancouver’s mayor has already announced he plans to ask council for a draft bylaw to ban handguns in his city, if the legislation becomes law.
The legislation was just introduced in the House of Commons and a vote is likely still months away, but Mayors are already announcing their intentions to ban handguns in their jurisdictions #cdnpoli https://t.co/FIkppXar5X
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) February 16, 2021
Hundial notes Surrey would have to consult with other municipalities on the Lower Mainland before any decision is made.
“We know that the gang conflict is a regional conflict, it’s not isolated just to one city or one community. So the solution needs to be inclusive of the neighbouring communities and certainly the region as a whole,” he said.
“So I’d be very interested to hear what other cities are moving forward with and what they’re doing,” Hundial added.
In addition to potentially giving municipalities the power to bring in their own handgun bans, the federal government also announced a new buy-back program, which would begin sometime in the coming months. This comes after Canada moved to ban 1,500 types of firearms last May.