The federal government is proposing new legislation which would empower municipalities to enact handgun bans that would be backed with federal punishment for violations. (RCMP - File)

The federal government is proposing new legislation which would empower municipalities to enact handgun bans that would be backed with federal punishment for violations. (RCMP - File)

South Okanagan mayor says handgun control should be federal and RCMP responsibility

New legislation from the federal government proposes supporting municipal handgun bans

The mayor of Penticton believes handguns and their legality should not be left up to municipalities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced details of new gun laws on Feb. 16, which support individual municipalities creating their own bylaws around banning handguns. The proposed laws would include giving federal punishments to violations of municipal handgun bylaws.

Mayor John Vassilaki expressed his personal concerns about the decision, regarding Bill C-21, although he noted that he did not have a full grasp on the legalities and obligations the bill would put on municipalities.

“In my own personal opinion, this should be left to the federal government and RCMP to handle and not the politicians of any municipality,” said Vassilaki. “We’re not experts in that, we’re politicians to make development decisions.”

The handgun aspect is one part of the new gun legislation, which also includes an ‘assault-style’ firearm buyback program and an increase to maximum sentences for firearms trafficking, smuggling and other firearms offences.

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