Proposed firearms legislation contains “red flag” rules that are vulnerable to abuse

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By Gary Mauser

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The Trudeau government made a request last year Bill C-21which was passed by the House of Commons and is now before the Senate Investigation.

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If approved by the Senate, it will become the law of the land. This latest attempt to “curb gun violence” is a grab bag of measures, including gun bans and new “red flag” regulations that are particularly egregious.

For example, under the bill, anyone—not just a peace officer, as is now the case—could apply to a court for an emergency firearms prohibition order (i.e., a red flag) to immediately remove firearms from “a person who may pose a danger.” “Danger to self or others” or “a person who may be at risk of providing access to firearms to another person who is already subject to a firearms prohibition order” and not the present standard, which applies to any person who “poses an imminent danger for oneself or others.” This new wording would lower the hurdle for confiscating firearms and make filing complaints much easier.

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To protect the safety of “red flag“Applicant, Section 110.1 The bill gives a judge the ability to close a “red flag” hearing to the “public and media” and “seal the court documents for up to 30 days or any information that could identify the applicant for any period of time.” to remove”. the judge considers this necessary, even in the long term.”. And the bill does not provide for an appeals process, which would be an important change since Canadians can currently appeal revocations and get their firearms back.

You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand how such a process can lead to abuse. So Why did the Trudeau government include these “red flag” provisions in the bill?

According to the government, they are needed so that police can confiscate firearms from dangerous people in an emergency. But Police already have the authority to intervene immediately, with or without a warrant, to confiscate firearms if there are serious concerns about public safety – particularly, Section 117.04 The Criminal Code already allows the disarmament of people who pose “an imminent danger to themselves or others.”

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And anyone who believes a person poses such a danger can call 911 or 1-800-731-4000 to “report a spouse or public safety concerns.” The police are required by law to respond. And under the Firearms Act, the Chief Firearms Officer can also revoke a firearms license and order the confiscation of firearms.


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Even if you consider the proposed “cautionary statements” provisions to be appropriate, they would likely be ineffective in an emergency. Why? Because applicants must apply to a court for an order to remove a firearm and face significant delays before appearing before a judge due to our inadequate and overburdened court systems.

The Trudeau government has not made a compelling case for this legislation. But instead of looking for more ways to confiscate firearms from law-abiding Canadians, the government should focus its efforts on violence criminal and actual gun crime.

Gary Mauser is Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University and Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute

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