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Justice & Public Safety

Conservatives continue to fail victims of gun violence with deferral of gun marking regulations

Posted on December 6, 2010

The Conservative government has ignored victims of gun violence by refusing to help police officers track imported guns used in violent crimes with their decision to delay life-saving firearm regulations for two more years, Liberal MPs said today.

“The Harper Conservatives have once again failed to stand up for victims of gun violence,” said Liberal Public Safety Critic Mark Holland. “Just like their crusade to scrap the life-saving long-gun registry, the Conservatives have ignored repeated calls from the Canadian Police Association, Canadian Association of Police Boards, the Canadian Chiefs of Police, provincial governments and victims groups, urging them to adopt the Firearms Marking Regulations.”

Marking a firearm for import can assist domestic law enforcement with the identification of a firearm that was lawfully imported – even if the serial number is obliterated. Knowing that a firearm was lawfully imported may help an investigator identify the firearm’s source when linked to knowledge about legal importers or the firearms registry.

“Import marking is an important international law enforcement cooperation tool for slowing the flow of guns across our border,” said Mr. Holland. “This government decision to eschew its obligation affects victims of gun violence both in Canada and around the world.”

Since 2006, the Harper Conservatives have deferred their obligations as a signatory to a United Nations Firearms Protocol and an Organization of American States Firearms Convention, both of which require the government to mandate the marking of all imported firearms.

“For the first time nearly 20 years – since the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada was created – we have the victims and families of the l’École Polytechnique de Montréal massacre refusing to participate in the federal government’s annual memorial ceremony because they are disgusted with this government’s track record on gun safety,” said Liberal Status of Women Critic Anita Neville.

“It’s beyond hypocritical for the Conservatives to not immediately adopt the Firearms Marking Regulations while claiming they stand up for victims of gun violence,” said Ms. Neville. “The government’s decision to side with the gun lobby has seriously impacted the ability of police officers to catch criminals using imported guns.”

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association lobbied the Conservatives to delay marking and tracing regulations again and praised them for their decision in an alert to their members last week.

“Liberals are calling on the Conservative government to immediately adopt life-saving Firearms Marking Regulations and stop paying lip-service to victims of gun violence,” Ms. Neville concluded.