Cornwall, P.E.I. opposes federal Bill C-21's section on municipal handgun regulation

·2 min read

CORNWALL, P.E.I. – The town is voicing opposition toward a federal proposal that would grant municipalities the authority to regulate handguns.

"From the town's perspective, we don't want to be in the handgun legislation business," Coun. Corey Frizzell told The Guardian. "That responsibility and authority should remain with the federal government and the RCMP."

A resolution opposing a section of Bill C-21 as it pertains to municipal governments was approved during a Cornwall council meeting on April 21. The firearms control bill was introduced by the Trudeau government in February and has not yet been approved.

If the bill is approved as is, municipalities across Canada would be permitted to create and enforce their own bylaws surrounding the storage and transportation of handguns within their municipal boundaries.

Part of the reasoning for this is to provide more authority to larger municipalities like Toronto, where gun regulation may be more of an issue. But it could result in inconsistent enforcement across smaller municipalities, Frizzell said.

"You could have municipalities with a patchwork of handgun legislations. Cornwall could ban it, Charlottetown could keep it, New Haven could ban it and Clyde River could allow it."

The town's resolution reads "Cornwall considers that consistent gun control legislation across Canada is preferable."

Councillors felt they had a responsibility to be proactive on the topic by passing an official town resolution, Frizzell said.

Cornwall will also send a letter of opposition to provincial and federal representatives on P.E.I., as well as to a few groups such as the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities (FPEIM).

John Dewey, executive director of FPEIM, said neither he nor the organization's president was able to comment as they hadn't yet heard from Cornwall when The Guardian reached out. Dewey also hasn't heard much discussion or concerns on the topic from other P.E.I. municipalities, he said.

"It doesn't mean that I won't down the road," he said on April 22. "When we get (the letter), we'll do some analysis."

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Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian