Will it be enough? That’s the question…
But for right now Canadian gun owners can hang their hats on the fact that their effort to restore gun rights set a record for the most signatures in the history of online Parliamentary petitions.
With 230,905 signatures, digital petition e-2574 calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to revoke his confiscatory ban on over 1,500 commonly owned semiautomatic firearms.
The largest Parliamentary petition in Cdn history, e-2574, has closed and been certified with 230,905 signatures. Thank you to the Canadians who stood up in support of safer communities and against the confiscation of legally owned property. I can’t wait to officially table it! pic.twitter.com/JF9ns4cwXW— Michelle Rempel Garner (@MichelleRempel) September 2, 2020
“We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Prime Minister to immediately scrap his government’s May 1, 2020, Order in Council decision related to confiscating legally owned firearms and instead pass legislation that will target criminals, stop the smuggling of firearms into Canada, go after those who illegally acquire firearms, and apologize to legal firearms owners in Canada,” reads the petition.
Trudeau enacted the sweeping prohibition following the Nova Scotia attacks in April, during which a spree-killer posing as a law enforcement officer murdered 22 people and injured three others by setting fires and shooting victims with firearms that were illegally obtained.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only — only to kill the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time,” Trudeau said at that time.
“As of today, the market for assault weapons in Canada is closed,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair added. “Enough is enough — banning these firearms will save Canadian lives.”
The petition also accuses the prime minister of assaulting “Canadian democracy,” by unilaterally imposing the restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic while the Parliament was suspended.
At least one gun-control activist was unmoved by the support for petition, suggesting that the ban is widely popular amongst citizens.
“Petitions are one thing. I think, what really matters, is what the public wants,” Heidi Rathjen, a survivor of the 1989 Polytechnique massacre, told the CBC. “A majority of Canadians support the ban on assault weapons. I think the Liberal government did the democratic thing when they passed these orders in council.”
“There’s no legitimate justification for allowing that kind of power in the hands of ordinary civilians. These weapons belong to the military. These are weapons of war,” Rathjen continued.
Michelle Rempel Garner, a conservative member of Parliament, drafted the petition. When the session resumes in the coming weeks, the Trudeau administration will have to respond to the signatories.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on confiscation. Current owners of prohibited firearms have a two-year amnesty period to figure out how to dispose of, sell, or destroy their once lawfully owned property.
One can argue that this petition won’t be enough to immediately set things straight but at least it gets the ball rolling in the right direction. Stay tuned for updates!