Prime Minister says handgun ban may be left to cities, but mayor says it won’t happen without Criminal Code changes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted that the federal government may give municipalities the power to ban handguns, something which came as a surprise to Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne.

Trudeau told the Canadian Press on Sunday that he knew there was more work to be done on the gun control file. He said they’d look at stronger border protection to prevent smuggling, stronger storage regulations to prevent theft, and “measures around handguns to permit municipalities to ban handguns within their city limits.”

Dionne that’s unlikely to happen without significant changes to the Criminal Code, since city council has no power to ban handguns.

“If he did (say that) then he’d better go back and read the Criminal Code,” Dionne said when asked about Trudeau’s comments on Monday. The Criminal Code is controlled by the federal government. I’ll tell you this, if he wants to give me the Criminal Code to change I’d be more than happy to help him.”

If cities did gain more control over the Criminal Code, Dionne said his first move would be to ban inmates from serving sentences concurrently, instead of banning handguns.

“It would be the biggest deterrent to Canadian crime,” he said. “For every break in you do you serve the sentence. You’re not getting them all stacked together.

“Oh no, if I had that power, thank you Prime Minister Trudeau, I would take it, but as of today, we do not have the power.”

Dionne added that the federal government has not reached out to discuss a handgun ban.

He was surprised they moved forward with a military style assault weapon ban in the first place, since there was still some uncertainty around the type of guns used in the mass shooting that took place in Nova Scotia. However, he also acknowledged the federal government likely had more information than the public.

“We don’t know, but he might know something more than we do and that’s why he moved quickly on it,” Dionne said.