March 7, 2023 – On the eve of International Women’s Day, LEAF joins other gender equality and women’s organizations in signing a letter calling for a federal ban on assault-style firearms through amendments to Bill C-21. The letter highlights the gendered dangers of gun violence and its role in intimate-partner violence and femicide.
See the full letter below (reposted from the National Association of Women and the Law).
To: Justin Trudeau, Pierre Poilievre, Yves-François Blanchet, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May
CC: Ron McKinnon, Raquel Dancho, Kristina Michaud, Paul Chiang, Pam Damoff, Iqwinder Gaheer, Peter Julian, Dane Lloyd, Glen Motz, Taleeb Noormohamed, Peter Schiefke, Doug Shipley (members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security)
On the eve of International Women’s Day, a coalition of women’s and feminist organizations from across Canada is calling on the Liberal government and federal opposition parties to re-introduce and adopt amendments to Bill C-21 to define and ban assault-style firearms once and for all.
In particular, we are calling on the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois to make good on their promise to ban assault-style firearms, a measure supported by the overwhelming majority of Canadians.
Gun control is a feminist issue, since access to guns is a primary risk factor for armed violence, including femicide. Research has shown that the presence of firearms in a household where there is intimate partner violence significantly increases the risk that the woman will be killed. Rural women are particularly vulnerable to firearm-related intimate partner violence.
Assault-style firearms, which are designed for military use and have no legitimate civilian purpose, are a direct threat to the safety and security of women and girls. The antifeminist Polytechnique massacre is an infamous example, and mass shootings also occur in the context of family violence. Assault-style firearms are capable of firing a high number of rounds rapidly and can cause devastating harm to individuals and communities. Research from the U.S. shows that attacks involving semi-automatic firearms with large capacity magazines result in a much higher average death toll and that banning these devices significantly reduces the number of mass-shootings.
In the past few months, the public conversation regarding a Canadian ban on assault-style firearms has been derailed by blatant disinformation from the gun lobby and other opponents of gun control. We call on our elected representatives to stand firm against such tactics and to put the safety of our communities first by adopting a comprehensive and permanent ban on assault-style firearms now, in Bill C-21. We also call on the Government to continue its consultations with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and engage in meaningful dialogue on all gun safety policy matters.
As feminist and women’s organizations, we stand united in our commitment to end gender-based violence and promote the safety and wellbeing of all Canadians, including through a comprehensive federal ban on assault-style firearms in Canada.
Signed by the following organizations:
National Association of Women and the Law | L’Association nationale Femmes et Droit
Fédération des femmes du Québec
Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund | Fonds d’action et d’éducation juridique pour les femmes
Ending Violence Association of Canada | L’Association canadienne pour mettre fin à la violence
Canadian Federation of University Women | Fédération Canadienne des Femmes Diplômées des Universités
Women’s Shelters Canada | Hébergement femmes Canada
Canadian Council of Muslim Women
Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes
National Council of Women of Canada
Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children
Canadian Women’s Foundation | Fondation canadienne des femmes
Persons Against Non-State Torture
West Coast LEAF Association
Association féministe d’éducation et d’action sociale
Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
South Asian Women’s Community Centre | Centre communautaire des femmes sud-asiatiques
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
SOS violence conjugale
Québec contre les violences sexuelles
Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale
Regroupement québécois des centres d’aide et de lutte aux agressions à caractère sexuel
Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses
Service d’Entraide Passerelle
Centre Victoria pour femmes
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters
Newfoundland & Labrador Sexual Assault & Crisis Prevention Centre
The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies | L’Association canadienne des sociétés Elizabeth Fry
Network of Women with Disabilities NOW
Halton Women’s Place
Informed Opinions | Femmes Expertes