North Okanagan—Shuswap MP Mel Arnold voiced his opposition to new gun control measures announced on Friday by the federal government.
“The reality is, most gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms and nothing that the Prime Minister announced today will solve this problem,” Arnold said in a statement May 1.
“Today’s announcement should have targeted gangs and those who smuggle, sell or use guns illegally. Instead, the Prime Minister has announced measures that will solely impact Canadians who have met the legal requirements of firearms ownership and follow the law.”
The announcement from Prime Minister Trudeau on May 1 puts an overnight ban on more than 1,500 types of assault-style rifles, including the types used in the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal and other Canadian mass shootings.
Arnold said eliminating violence in Canadian society is “attainable,” but added gun control measures should take a back seat to mental health and addictions support.
“If we are to effectively reduce or eliminate violence in our society, we must first deal with the mental health and addictions crises across Canada,” he said.
While calling into question the Trudeau government’s handling of mental health issues—which he says are “at the root of tragedies such as that in Nova Scotia last week”—Arnold also suggested the federal government took advantage of Canada’s state of crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic to usher in the gun control measures.
“Although, I believe the Prime Minister desires to reduce the amount of violence caused by guns, his decision to forego Parliament’s legislative and democratic channels and utilize an Order in Council to deliver a 2019 campaign promise is, frankly, wrong.”
Arnold said he and his Conservative Party colleagues will pressure government for more support for anti-gang and gun units, an firearms smuggling task force and tougher court sentences for violent offenders.
“Additionally, Canadians need our federal government to get serious about expanding access to mental health supports and addictions treatments for all Canadians.”