Facing a rise in violent crime and growing public support for action, Justice Minister Kim Campbell is preparing another attempt to strengthen the nation's already strict gun-control laws.
Campbell's first bid to change the 1978 gun codes was diverted to a House of Commons committee last year after hunters, marksmen and others mounted protests with Conservative parliament members, many from the rural West. The measure died with the end of the parliamentary session.But a recent nationwide poll indicates 79 percent of Canadians think existing gun-control laws should be made more restrictive.
The climate parallels that in the United States, where most Americans favor gun control, but Congress has been heavily lobbied by the National Rifle Association to defeat restrictive legislation. That changed last week when Congress approved the so-called Brady Bill, which requires a seven-day waiting period to buy a firearm.
The Canadian government is considering proposing a 28-day waiting period and a ban on automatic weapons and submachine guns, among other measures.
The new Canadian law, which Campbell can file at any time, will likely pass if it comes up in the House of Commons, where Conservatives hold 159 of the 295 seats.
"It's just a matter of finalizing the proposals," Rick Mosley, the Justice Ministry's senior general counsel for criminal-law policy, said Thursday.