A murdered Coquitlam teen was mentioned Monday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced new measures.
“Nothing can bring back Alfred Wong, who was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight in Vancouver when he was only 15,” Trudeau said.
Wong was in the back of his parents’ car when rival gang members shot at each other on the streets of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.
“A stray bullet entered the vehicle and struck Alfred,” a Vancouver Police Department press release stated.
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In response to the death of Wong and others killed by guns, Trudeau promised: “some of the strongest measures in Canadian history to keep guns out of our communities and build a safer future for everyone.”
Those measures include removing firearms licences from Canadians involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment such as stalking. A new “red flag” law would also allow courts to require Canadians considered a danger to themselves or others to surrender their firearms.
A release accompanying the announcement noted that victims of intimate partner violence are approximately five times more likely to be killed when a firearm is in the home.
The recently-tabled legislation also aims to cut down on gun smuggling and trafficking by increasing criminal penalties and strengthening border security measures.
Noting that there are 1.1 million handguns in Canada (a 71 percent percent between 2010 and 2020), Trudeau also called for a national freeze on handguns to prevent the buying, selling and transferring of handguns in Canada.
The Port Coquitlam & District Hunting & Fishing Club
Discussing a previous plan that would have allowed cities to ban handguns in 2021, Port Coquitlam & District Hunting & Fishing Club member Lance Smith criticized the government for focusing on law-abiding gun owners.
“We’re not the ones that are committing the crimes. We’re the ones following the laws,” he said.
The federal government’s efforts would be better directed toward gang prevention and mental health initiatives, Smith says. Canada’s real problem, Smith argues, is cross-border gun smuggling.
“We are on the longest border in the world with a country that has the most firearms in the world,” he said.
The Canadian Border Services Agency reported seizing 389 firearms so far in fiscal year 2020-21.
Related: The case for and against (and against) a municipal handgun ban