Halifax considering options for when it gets power to ban handguns
HALIFAX -- Halifax, the largest city in the Maritimes, has seen its share of deadly gun violence.
Now that municipalities are getting the go-ahead from the federal government to ban handguns, Mayor Mike Savage says they are considering their options.
"I think in terms of handguns, handguns are different than long guns, and I think it's an issue of big concern to mayors, police chiefs, public safety officials in cities everywhere," Savage said. "We'll have to look at it, work with our staff and the province, see what our options are."
The new federal gun control legislation will include a buy-back program of legally owned firearms that Ottawa has deemed to be so-called assault-style weapons -- but it's not mandatory.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says those who keep their weapons will have to inform the government what they own and where.
"That information will give us very good information into the scope of the undertaking of the buyback, but also provide us with information about where these guns are," Blair said.
That information may be helpful to police enforcement, but there has been no confirmation of how and where that information can or even will be shared.
Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella was not available for an interview today but offered this written reaction to the new measures:
"From a police perspective, there are a variety of things that contribute to gun violence and illegal supply of firearms is certainly one of them. We will continue to engage with our peers across the country through Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police as well as Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police to provide input from a policing perspective, as these discussions take place."
The new legislation also toughens the maximum penalty for gun smuggling and trafficking, increasing it from 10 years in prison to 14.
Some gun owners say they feel these measures are targeting law-abiding citizens and won't actually target the people who have criminal intentions.