Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Joel Lightbound, left, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair listen at a press conference in Ottawa, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Family members and colleagues of those who died in tragic sprees at Montreal’s Dawson College and Concordia University say that the Liberal government’s firearms legislation is “an offensively hollow bill” that should be completely revamped. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Joel Lightbound, left, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair listen at a press conference in Ottawa, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Family members and colleagues of those who died in tragic sprees at Montreal’s Dawson College and Concordia University say that the Liberal government’s firearms legislation is “an offensively hollow bill” that should be completely revamped. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Rewrite ‘hollow’ federal gun bill, victims’ families urge Liberals

Bill allows owners to keep assault-style weapons under strict conditions

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s firearms legislation is “an offensively hollow bill” that should be completely revamped, say family members and colleagues of those who died in tragic shooting sprees at Montreal’s Dawson College and Concordia University.

In a letter sent to Liberal MPs, they add their voices to a chorus of opponents who say federal Bill C-21 will not rid Canada of the scourge of deadly shootings.

“We will not mince our words. Bill C-21 is an insult to all victims of gun violence,” the letter says.

“It looks like it was designed by public relations consultants, rather than by public safety experts. It looks like its sole purpose is to provide tough-sounding sound bites that belie the total lack of substance behind the ‘measures’ they purportedly describe.”

The bill tabled in February proposes a buyback of many recently banned firearms the government considers assault-style weapons, but owners would be allowed to keep them under strict conditions, including registration and secure storage of the guns.

The letter says this would allow “tens of thousands of fully functional killing machines to remain in private hands.”

The legislation would also enable municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation — a plan the letter says will be ineffective.

“The absence of any concrete proposals to stem the proliferation of handguns cements this government’s attempt to strengthen gun control as a resounding failure.”

The families, survivors and witnesses who signed the letter say the legislation also falls short on efforts to remove guns from the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, deter smuggling and trafficking of firearms, and crack down on the modification of magazines to hold as many as 100 bullets.

In 1992, four Concordia professors were gunned down by a colleague and a secretary was injured.

Fifteen years ago this September at Dawson College, a gunman killed 18-year-old Anastasia De Sousa and wounded 19 others.

“Four families at Concordia and one at Dawson were torn apart. Many survivors are still struggling with their physical and psychological injuries,” says the letter to Liberal MPs.

“We are inspired by other victims who also publicly expressed their anger at Bill C-21 and we support their call for its complete overhaul.”

Several relatives of women killed in the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, as well as victims and families left reeling by a 2018 shooting in Toronto, have also panned the federal gun legislation.

The federal Conservatives and some firearms rights advocates have criticized the bill over concerns it targets responsible gun owners, not criminals.

The letter from the Dawson College and Concordia families accuses the Liberals of betraying promises to prevent firearm-related violence, saying it is “one thing to oppose gun control and to legislate accordingly. It is quite another to get elected on the promise to strengthen gun control and then capitulate to the gun lobby with an offensively hollow bill.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.

federal gun bill

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Regional Airport CEO Graham Ingham has ambitious plans for the airport. (Advocate file photo).
Red Deer Regional Airport revenues climb in 2020

Bringing in more business is the 2021 goal, says director

City council will have to wait longer to hear back from administration on possible alternative sites — if the homeless shelter is moved from Red Deer downtown. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Alternative sites for homeless shelter will be explored by the City of Red Deer

Council gave administration more time to return with a report

Quentin Lee Strawberry was found not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with stabbing death of Joseph Gallant in March 2019. (Photo from RCMP)
Updated: O’Chiese man found not guilty of 2019 stabbing death of Red Deer man

Quentin Strawberry found guilty of assaulting murdered man’s common-law partner

(Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer property tax bills are in the mail

Red Deer 2021 tax notices are on their way. Red Deer property… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks’ Nils Hoglander (36) scores on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during first-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Hoglander scores twice as Vancouver Canucks dump slumping Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Hoglander scores twice as Vancouver Canucks dump slumping Winnipeg Jets 3-1

Edmonton Oilers' Dominik Kahun (21) celebrates with teammate Connor McDavid (97) after scoring the third goal against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34) during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Rory McIlroy tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow on Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

Canada , left to right, lead Briane Meilleur, third Val Sweeting, skip Kerri Einarson, and second Shannon Birchard discuss strategy against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. Both of Canada's teams were shut out of the medals, marking the first time ever that Canada did not reach the podium at either the men's or women's worlds in the same season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

Canada's Tyler Ardron, right, tries to block the kick by Italy's Callum Braley during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match in Fukuoka, western Japan, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kyodo News via AP
Canadian men to face Wales and England in July rugby test matches

Canadian men to face Wales and England in July rugby test matches

John Velazquez, right, rides Medina Spirit ahead of Florent Geroux aboard Mandaloun to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Darron Cummings
Casse believes colleague Baffert deserves “due process” folowing positive test

Casse believes colleague Baffert deserves “due process” folowing positive test

Canada forward Liam Millar (23) moves the ball past Bermuda defender Eusebio Blankendal (2) during the second half of a World Cup 2022 Group B qualifying soccer match Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John Raoux
Canadian men to play next two World Cup qualifying matches in the U.S.

Canadian men to play next two World Cup qualifying matches in the U.S.

Most Read