Kitchener-Waterloo

More consultation on gun legislation needed says Chair of Waterloo region

Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman says more consultation needs to take place on the federal government’s proposed gun legislation. The regional chair and local politicians from all levels of government sat down with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair Thursday morning to discuss the municipality's role in the future of the law.

Regional Chair and area politicians met with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman says more consultation needs to take place about the federal government's proposed gun legislation before it can be made into law.

The regional chair and local politicians from all levels of government sat down with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair Thursday morning to discuss the municipality's role in the future of the law.

Since the legislation was introduced in February municipal leaders across the country have raised concerns about a proposal that municipalities could introduce bylaws to control or ban handguns. 

"Having the ability to ban handguns in Waterloo region is nothing that we have asked for. It hasn't been lobbied for by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario nor the Federation of Canadian Municipalities," said Redman.

"So municipalities are not speaking with one voice. There are some large cities who have asked for this; Waterloo region was not one of them. And we acknowledge that anything that would happen to have any kind of consistency would be something that would be enforced by Waterloo Regional police."

Focus on storage and community

Minister Blair acknowledged in a news conference Thursday the federal government is taking responsibility to strictly legislate hand guns and the storage of those guns.

"They'll all be required to be stored in a safer vault and [the legislation] will define the adequacy of that safe," said Blair.

"We would perhaps like to add additional restrictions on where firearms can be stored ... require people to have a municipal permit or even to have a liability insurance policy."

Blair says the federal government not only wants to focus on law enforcement but communities. He discussed a five year multi-million dollar commitment to invest in community organizations "that are working with young people and with the circumstances that give rise in violence."

Public consultation

As a former MP in Kitchener, Chair Redman knows how divisive gun legislation can be. She was in Ottawa during what she describes as "the aftermath of the national gun registry" and she hopes the bill goes to a Parliamentary committee before a final vote on the bill in the House of Commons.

"[Parliamentary committees] invite all the stakeholders. They would invite police, they would have representatives from social agencies that deal with domestic violence and health care providers that that deal with people who take their own life or attempt suicide," said Redman.

 "All of those opinions would go into whatever changes they would make in the legislation." 

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