Ban on military-style assault rifles – why didn’t the Liberals do it sooner?

Ban on military-style assault rifles – why didn’t the Liberals do it sooner?

By Shachi Kurl, Executive Director

Grief. Loss. Mourning.

It was impossible to know the extent to which these words would come to define the first four months of this year. It started with the deliberate attack on a passenger plane that killed 55 of our citizens, and continues with the devastating news that six members of the Canadian Forces are dead or missing after a helicopter crash in the Mediterranean.

In between these grim bookends, the contrast of quiet, at times invisible, anguish among those who loved and cared for more than 3,000 people (and counting) who have succumbed to COVID-19; and the very public, national heartache for the 22 victims of the Nova Scotia killer.

Among the many thoughts over which the public will ruminate in this ongoing misery: the extent to which our government might have prevented these sorrows, or how it may prevent them in the future. In in the case of the Nova Scotia killings, the answer is (up to a point) obvious. We know more than half of the mass murderer’s victims were shot. Witnesses have described him carrying “military-style” assault rifles.

These are the same style of weapons Canadians overwhelmingly support banning, a sentiment they underscore in new polling from the Angus Reid Institute. Nearly four-in-five (78 per cent) support a complete prohibition on civilian possession of such weapons.

Significantly, two-thirds strongly support such a move, giving federal policymakers a clear mandate to proceed. Unusually, endorsement for the change transcends political and regional divides. Pushback may come from a slight majority of current gun owners who oppose such a change. But they represent a very small segment of the population.

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site where it was initially published.

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