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Trudeau to axe minimum sentencing for serious gun offences

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced his government's intent to crack down on gun crime. By Thursday, he had conversely brought forward legislation that would reduce sentences for gun crimes such as trafficking and importing, in addition to reducing minimum sentences for those convicted of more than one gun offence.

“In some of our cities, gun crimes are on the rise. This is unacceptable,” Trudeau said to reporters. “No one should be afraid of being a victim of a sniper or a stray bullet. As a parent, I know full well that our greatest fear is receiving a tragic call, telling us that the worst has happened.”

Surely, this goes against his promise made earlier this week. One need only look at the recent provisions in Bill C-22 to see where the Trudeau government really stands on firearms issues.

The mandatory minimum sentences that will be removed for gun offences include the following:

– The use of firearm in commission of offence

– Possession of restricted or prohibited weapons knowing possession is unauthorized

– Possession of a loaded handgun

– Possession of weapon obtained through crime

– Weapons trafficking

– Unauthorized import/export of firearm

– Illegal discharge of a firearm with intent

– Robbery with firearm

– Extortion with firearm

The government claims these changes are necessary to deal with systemic racism, as lower-risk and first-time offenders are disproportionately of an indigenous or Black background, and that said minimum sentences do not adequately deter crime.

“These are people with health problems. These are single mothers. These are young people who perhaps have made a couple of mistakes,” Justice Minister David Lametti said while introducing his bill.

Lametti also made claims on Thursday that mandatory minimum sentences are both a failed Conservative policy and unpopular with Canadians. As the Toronto Sun aptly notes, this is also incorrect.

Mandatory minimum sentences have existed since the tenure of Pierre Trudeau, who introduced some into law, as did his Liberal successors.

Although the Harper government began using minimum sentences in response to light sentences for serious crimes, voters largely approved of the measures.

One need only look at this example to see where the Trudeau government's priorities lie - not with disarming criminals who pose a harm to society, but law-abiding Canadians through the arbitrary removal of any gun deemed an "assault weapon."

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