New firearms legislation looks to address domestic violence

WINNIPEG — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said new firearms legislation can prevent and deter domestic violence by removing firearms from potentially deadly situations.

The minister held roundtable discussions Friday, speaking to staff at women’s shelters and domestic violence support groups in Manitoba about Bill C-21, the federal government’s new gun control law.

“This bill will introduce some of the strongest gun control measures yet seen in Canada,” said Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

In addition to banning assault-style weapons, the legislation addresses gun smuggling and firearms trafficking, with a goal of reducing criminal use of the weapons and removing them from the black market.

Blair said the legislation will also limit gun access to people who could be a danger to themselves, or others.

“(It) will enable us to remove firearms from a potentially dangerous situation where it would be possible, not just for victims, but for those who support them to apply for a court order an immediate temporary weapons prohibition order and in addition we are going to support to those organizations,” said Blair.

“The presence of a firearm can be a significant factor, not only for lethality in the relationship, but also it can far too often be used as an instrument of intimidation and coercion.”

Statistics for domestic violence against women show over the past five years, 500 women have been victimized by their partner with a firearm, according to Blair, with domestic abuse calls accounting for 28 per cent of all police reported violent crime in Canada.

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