Vernon tells feds to back off on fobbing gun control off on them | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon tells feds to back off on fobbing gun control off on them

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
May 27, 2021 - 6:30 AM

In February, the federal government introduced gun control legislation that, in part, said local governments could pass bylaws banning handguns in their cities.

That legislation has yet to be passed and, while Vancouver and Surrey said at the time they would try to pass such laws, Kamloops and Okanagan mayors said they didn’t want to take on that role.

READ MORE: Interior mayors not happy with feds handgun proposal

Now, Vernon has taken the pre-emptive action to send a letter to the federal government saying it’s opposed to having the onus for gun control laid at their feet.

“There are many reasons to send a message saying no to this,” Coun. Scott Anderson said while making the motion. “I think the most effective one is that it’s simply unworkable. It’s like trying to have a dry town with liquor stores all around you. It will be a patchwork. It will tax our (bylaw officers) and quite likely put them in danger.”

Mayor Victor Cumming, who refused to comment on the issue when contacted by in February, spoke against the motion, arguing there was no legislation yet in place federally or provincially and suggested council wait until Bill C-21 passed into law.

Others disagreed.

“I think it’s good,” Coun. Brian Quiring said. “The more that we can communicate that we don’t want this to land at the municipal level, that it needs to be at the federal level, maybe this bill will never see the light of day if everybody writes a letter like this.”

There seemed to be some misunderstanding about what the federal law actually states.

Anderson explained how difficult it was to actually get licences to own either restricted or unrestricted firearms.

“In order to get either one of those, you have to go through quite a background check in which old girlfriends and spouses and everybody else is physically checked out and they actually do check them out before you’re allowed to buy a firearm,” Fehr said. “To download that responsibility onto municipalities or, worse yet, make them responsible for banning or not banning firearms, is simply unworkable.”

The federal legislation says that it will support municipalities if they wish to restrict handguns only.

“The federal government would create conditions on an individual's federal firearms licence to restrict handgun storage and transport in those municipalities that pass bylaws to these effects,” states a Public Safety Canada website.

Municipalities can prohibit storage at home or anywhere within municipal boundaries and limit transport of handguns in and out of the city.

While there was some opposition to Anderson’s original motion saying the city was opposed to adopting bylaws restricting the use, storage or transportation of firearms, it got unanimous support when he amended it to simply say the city was opposed to the federal government placing the onus of gun control onto local governments.

— This story was corrected at 9:47 a.m. Friday, May 28, 2021 to attribute comments on getting gun licences to Coun. Anderson.

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