BERNARDO: Pay more attention to smuggling, less to gun confiscation

White Rock shooting... Tony Bernardo writes that if the Government of Canada put as much effort into prevention of firearm smuggling as they do into the confiscation of legally held guns, things would go better
White Rock shooting... Tony Bernardo writes that if the Government of Canada put as much effort into prevention of firearm smuggling as they do into the confiscation of legally held guns, things would go betterCourtesy Twitter

Brazen gang shootings are nothing new to BC’s Lower Mainland, but last Saturday night’s automatic gunfire in a residential White Rock neighbourhood rocked that city to its core.

Worse, it’s just one of several terrifying gang shootings around the Lower Mainland this month. Video shows two armed assailants approach two vehicles, a black BMW SUV and a white Toyota RAV4 and open fire. The BMW is seen speeding out of the driveway. It crashes into a fence across the street where the assailants rain down more gunfire on the vehicle’s occupants.

Miraculously, nobody was killed, despite “over 100 bullets” fired into the two vehicles from point-blank range.

"This incident appears to be targeted and there is no ongoing risk to public safety in the area at this time," said Const. Chantal Sears.

As anyone familiar with Canadian gun laws understands, automatic firearms were banned in 1979. Ordinary Canadians cannot own or possess them, which leads to a few inescapable facts (for those willing to face uncomfortable truths.)

First, Justin Trudeau’s vaunted Bill C-21, which adds higher bureaucratic hoops for licensed firearms owners, bans their legally-owned guns and lowers prison sentences for violent criminals who use illegal guns in crime, is an abject failure. Automatic guns such as the one’s used in Saturday night’s attempted mass murder are already illegal. The only way they can enter Canada is by being smuggled across the border.

Money reveals intention and focus. One billion dollars to confiscate legally-owned guns (according to a 2019 Liberal government memo), yet less than 10% of that to prevent illegal guns from entering our country to prevent violent criminals from terrorizing suburban neighbourhoods with illegal automatic weapons.

In 2020, the then-public safety minister crowed that, “we invested $86 million (over five years) in the CBSA and RCMP to conduct investigations at our border for those gangs and individuals responsible for smuggling guns.”

The Liberal government’s priority is not stopping illegal guns at the border. Their focus is on confiscating legally-owned firearms from licensed firearms owners.

But, that is not how you “keep Canadians safe,” as Justin Trudeau and his revolving door of public safety ministers claim.

There is some good news on the gun smuggling front, because our police and border services agents do the best they can with the meagre resources they’re given.

On April 11, 2023, news outlets reported that the CBSA and five other police agencies broke a gun smuggling ring in Ontario, seized 173 guns, and charged 42 people with a slew of charges.

Then, on February 12, 2024, news outlets broke the story of another major gun smuggling bust, the largest in Ontario’s history. A joint venture between the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized 274 illegal guns.

Our police and border services agents do a remarkable job, despite being chronically underfunded. Imagine how many illegal guns they could confiscate at our border, preventing horrifying incidents such as the one in White Rock last Saturday night, if Justin Trudeau’s government pulled their head out of their collective buttocks, abandoned their vendetta against legal gun owners and focused their hatred (and $1 billion) on defending our border so gun smugglers can’t flood our streets with automatic weapons?

Unless Trudeau sees the light of truth about his failures so far, it will take a change in government to focus taxpayer dollars on the source of the problem — securing our southern border — something Trudeau’s government has refused to do so far.

Tony Bernardo is Executive Director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association

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