NAWL Submission to Minister Blair on Dialogue re: Handguns and Assault Rifles

October 26, 2018

Hon. Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6


Dear Minister Blair:

Re: Reducing violent crime: A dialogue on handguns and assault weapons

I am writing on behalf of the National Association of Women and the Law/Association nationale Femmes et Droit (NAWL) in response to your call for submissions on Reducing violent crime: A dialogue on handguns and assault weapons. As you are likely aware, NAWL is an incorporated not-for-profit feminist organization that promotes the equality rights of women in Canada through legal education, research, and law reform advocacy.

NAWL applauds your government’s efforts to ensure that the objections of a vocal progun minority and its well-funded lobby do not drown out the voice of the majority of Canadians, who want greater and more effective government limits on firearms in Canada as a necessary measure in reducing violent crime.

Since the December 6, 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre NAWL has, alongside the Coalition for Gun Control and other women’s and public safety groups from across Canada, consistently sought more effective federal firearms controls. Like them, NAWL was profoundly disappointed by the regressive stance of the previous Conservative government in relation to gun control, including the repeal of the federal long-gun registry that was established in direct response to the Polytechnique Massacre.

In May of this year, NAWL joined other women’s groups in supporting the measures your government took in Bill C-71 to improve public safety, and in calling for Bill C-71 to be further strengthened to safeguard against guns and gun violence. NAWL’s brief relating to Bill C-71, which we submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, is attached for your information.

Minister Blair, as advocates for the Canadian Charter equality and security of the person rights of all women and girls in Canada, our stance on handguns and assault weapons is clear. NAWL shares the widely held belief that handguns and assault weapons should be banned in Canada. In this and other regards, we endorse the recommendations of the Coalition for Gun Control in the context of Bill C-71 and in the present consultation.

Should we be able to provide any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Martha Jackman
Co-chair National Association of Women and the Law

cc: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Status of Women Canada Maryam Monsef