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Vancouver mayor wants handgun ban if legislation passes

Last Updated Feb 16, 2021 at 6:25 pm PDT

FILE - Vancouver City Hall (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart plans to bring a motion to council to ban handguns if Bill C-21 passes the House, Senate

Bill C-21 would give municipalities the power to ban handguns in their jurisdictions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver’s mayor says he plans to ask council to implement a handgun ban in the city, if the federal government gives municipalities the power to do so.

This comes after the federal government tabled legislation Tuesday, which would enable municipalities to ban these firearms through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation.

Measures would be backed up with serious penalties to enforce these bylaws, including jail time for people who violate municipal rules.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he plans to ask council to “use these new powers” to bring in such a ban.

“Handguns have no place in cities,” he said. “A handgun ban is one more tool we can use to keep residents safe. We’ve recently had whole bunch of killings all over the Lower Mainland due to a drug war, and many of those killings use handguns. Banning them would be a good start in terms of reducing crime.”

A Vancouver-based gang expert tells NEWS 1130 many guns used by gangsters are illegally acquired. To that, Stewart says he thinks a handgun ban is one of “many tools in this toolkit.”

“The handgun ban is proposed, at this stage, by the federal government. It’s one tool in that kit, but of course, we need other legislation, too,” he said.

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Stewart says he has a gun license himself.

“Both restricted and non-restricted license,” he said. “I’m very familiar with handguns. My grandfather was a gunsmith. So, for me, I think that this is the right move, and I think a lot of gun owners would also agree,” he said.

Stewart says his family does own guns, but none are handguns.

“Don’t have any handguns. We just have some heritage shotguns that my grandfather made, actually. I still have those, but no handguns,” he said.

The federal government also announced a new buy-back program would begin sometime in the coming months. This comes after Canada moved to ban 1,500 types of firearms last May.