LILLEY: Trudeau’s latest gun measure more about votes and election posturing than safety

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Imagine just for a moment that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government put as much time, effort and money into tackling gun crime as they do picking political fights with legal gun owners.

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Our streets would be much safer and we wouldn’t have constant stories of shootings with people being killed or injured.

Instead, Trudeau’s Liberals like picking fights with legal gun owners because it is easier, gets them great headlines and plenty of praise from a mostly unquestioning media. It makes low information voters think they are doing something to improve public safety when they aren’t.

On Friday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced that the government was bringing in the ban on importing handguns sooner using a special regulation. This is a temporary measure but one he said was necessary due to the “obstructionist” Conservative Party.

When the Liberals announced their “handgun freeze” on May 30, they knew that there were less than 10 sitting days left in Parliament. That’s important because some of the regulatory changes they want to bring in are required to be tabled in Parliament and can’t come into effect until 30 sitting days have passed.

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That would mean the import ban wouldn’t take effect until October. They couldn’t have that, so they came up with this stop gap measure. Of course, if this was as important to them as they say, they could have tabled these changes in Parliament earlier in the spring and they would be in effect now.

They didn’t do that though because this was a hastily-arranged move to capitalize on the tragedy that was the Uvalde school shooting in Texas. Trudeau knows he can push the gun issue in Canada any time there is a tragedy in the United States.

This measure will not improve safety on Canadian streets in the least. Licensed gun owners are less likely to be involved in crime than the general population and even less likely to be involved in crime than police officers, according to research from criminologist Garry Mauser.

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Trudeau’s Liberals have determined though that licensed gun owners are the problem, rather than gangs and criminals who use illegal guns smuggled in from the United States.

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Mendicino, in his announcement, spoke of the “buyback program” for the more than 1,500 rifles and shotguns the Trudeau government has banned.

That program, which still isn’t beyond the theoretical stage more than two years after being announced, will cost well over $1 billion and yet the 2021 federal budget only provides for $312 million over five years, to give extra resources to the RCMP, CBSA and Public Safety Canada to deal with gun smuggling issues.

Think of that, the real problem with gun crime is the smuggled guns at the border and the Trudeau Liberals are spending more than three times going after people who have been fully vetted by the RCMP and are among the least likely to commit crimes.

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Mendicino boasted at his announcement that CBSA agents seized more than double the amount of illegal guns at the border in 2021 compared to 2020. That would be 2020 when the land border was effectively shut down due to COVID.

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The whole announcement, their handling of this file, Mendicino calling the Conservatives obstructionist as often as he has lately makes this smell like it’s all part of setting the stage for a fall election. I’m not saying they are absolutely going to trigger a fall election, but I’ve written in the past about why the Liberals might want to go and their handling of this issue only reinforces that.

Gun control isn’t a public safety issue for Trudeau, it’s a vote getter for him and with these announcements, he’s showing that he’s trolling for votes hard even as he lays on a beach in Costa Rica.

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