NEWS
08/15/2018 19:43 EDT | Updated 08/15/2018 19:43 EDT

Montreal Joins Toronto In Push For Nationwide Handgun Ban

They're asking Ottawa to prohibit all "private possession of assault rifles and handguns."

OTTAWA — Following Toronto's lead, Montreal is set to formally ask the federal government to impose a nationwide ban on handguns and so-called assault rifles for anyone who doesn't work in law enforcement.

Coun. Alex Norris is expected to table a motion at a council meeting next Monday requesting that Ottawa strengthen its gun-control bill, known as C-71.

The motion says Montreal's council should ask Ottawa to prohibit all "private possession of assault rifles and handguns, except in the case of the Canadian Armed Forces, police forces, and other authorities mandated to possess firearms ... under restrictions imposed by (governments)."

Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Police display guns seized during a series of raids for operation in Toronto on June 14, 2013.

It also asks the federal government to increase restrictions on the legal sale of weapons such as hunting rifles and shotguns in order to ensure they don't get into the hands of people who are at risk to commit violent acts.

"For hunting rifles, there can be arguments in favour of them," Norris said in an interview. "But in the case of handguns and assault rifles, these are really police or military weapons that the public should not have access to."

In late July, following a shooting on Toronto's Danforth Avenue that killed two people and wounded 13, city council passed a motion asking Ottawa to "(prohibit) the availability, sale, possession and use of handguns, assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms in Canada."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in northwestern Quebec on Wednesday that his government is "listening attentively" to the council motions from the nation's two largest cities.

"There have been a number of events over the past weeks and months, tragedies that have people reflecting on what more we can do to protect citizens and keep communities safe,' he said.

"We've moved forward on significant measures in Bill C-71 that will keep our communities safer but we know there are further discussions about the next steps that can be taken."

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police wrapped up its annual meeting in Halifax on Wednesday and its new president, Adam Palmer, said the country's gun laws are "very good."

Palmer, who is chief of police in Vancouver, said his association is not calling for any wholesale legislative changes related to gun violence.