Handgun bans to be brought before council in Vancouver, Surrey
Vancouver City Hall is seen in Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The mayors of Vancouver and Surrey say they will ask their councils to implement a handgun ban in the cities using powers proposed under newly tabled federal legislation.
The proposed legislation would allow municipalities to ban the weapons through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the measures will be backed up with serious penalties to enforce these bylaws, including jail time for people who violate municipal rules.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the proliferation of handguns poses a great threat to public safety, citing a recent uptick in gang-related shootings and weapons recovered by police.
Mayor Doug McCallum of Surrey says gun violence has been a scourge in the region and he is directing staff to immediately begin work on a bylaw for council approval as quickly as possible.
The provincial government also introduced a new centralized hub for firearms intelligence Tuesday that it says will help suppress organized crime and gun violence.