The fundamental flaw with Canada’s current Firearms Prohibition Order (FPO) system is that no effort is made to ensure those under an FPO comply with it, unlike other jurisdictions.
- United Kingdom’s Management of Sexual and Violent Offenders Units (MOSOVO)[i]
- Australia’s aggressive Firearm Prohibition Order System[ii], and
- New Zealand’s proposed Firearms Prohibition Orders Amendment Bill No 2)[iii]
Even those subject to multiple Mandatory Firearms Prohibition Orders (arguably the “worst of the worst”) are not tracked.
This is in stark contrast to the conditions imposed on Registered Sex Offenders – and lawful, licenced firearms owners – who are tracked and receive proactive visits from Law Enforcement.
That said, the recent gang shooting at a kids’ birthday party shows why this gaping hole in our Firearms Prohibition Order System must be plugged.
Demar Cadogan and Kevin George, two of the shooters at the birthday party that sent three children to hospital with gunshot wounds – one in critical condition, were already prohibited from possessing firearms due to previous criminal charges.
But nobody had the authority to ensure these two criminals complied with those Firearm Prohibition Orders, so they easily obtained the illegal handguns they carried to that birthday party and used them with such horrific results.
This must change.
The Criminal Code of Canada currently provides for three different types of Weapons Prohibition Order (WPO):
- Mandatory Prohibition Order (CCC s109)
- Discretionary Prohibition Order (CCC s110)
- Preventative Prohibition order (CCC s111)
The Criminal Code also imposes a Weapons Prohibition Order as a condition of Judicial Interim Release for a person accused of serious offences (CCC s515(4.1)).
Imagine if the government added a fourth type of firearms prohibition order, let’s call it the Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order, which is reserved for those who violate their existing Firearms Prohibition Orders.
The Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order would focus law-enforcement resources on high-risk offenders – the people most likely to endanger public safety.
Subject to any limits or restrictions imposed by a judge at time of sentencing or as modified by judicial review, a person under an Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order would be subject to:
- A search of their person by law enforcement officers, without prior notice or warrant
- A search of any vehicle registered to the person, in their presence, at any time and place, without prior notice or warrant
- A search of any vehicle not registered to the person, but where they are the sole occupant, without warrant
- A search of the person’s home, in their presence, at any time, without prior notice, and without warrant, provided the home is rented or owned by the person, and where the search excludes areas used solely by other residents (i.e. a roommate’s bedroom),
- Continuous monitoring of their location, if a judge has ordered the use of an electronic location monitoring device.
Subject to penalties for non-compliance, a person subject to an Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order would be required to notify authorities of:
- any permanent change of address,
- any temporary change of address,
- the identities of current intimate partners
- the identity of their current employer(s), and any change in employment status
In addition, a person subject to an Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order would be required to identify themselves to police when asked to do so, and to identify that they are the subject of such an Order.
These proposed measures would target a well-defined group of serious repeat offenders who present a substantially elevated risk to the general public.
Law enforcement would be able to focus their scarce resources on the individuals who commit serious crimes, have established a pattern of recidivism, and who have a history of criminal possession/misuse of firearms. In short, the “worst of the worst”.
Offenders subject to an Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order may decide the risk of carrying a gun or participating in criminal activity is too great because they are under constant surveillance. The less intelligent will find themselves arrested and sent back to jail.
Gang members subject to an Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order would find they are no longer welcome within their former criminal “family”. What right-minded thug wants to hang around with someone who may be under police surveillance and who is being searched regularly?
The most hard-core gang criminals would become immediate liabilities once subject to an Enforced Weapons Prohibition Order.
The net result is that demand for illegal guns would decrease, gang structures would be disrupted, and law enforcement (particularly “Guns and Gangs” units) would be able to operate with greater efficiency and precision.
If Justin Trudeau and Bill Blair are as serious about public safety as they continually claim they are, they will introduce the legislation required for Enforced Weapons Prohibition Orders in the next session of Parliament.
If they refuse, well, that’s just more evidence they would rather spout insincere platitudes than put forward measures that will actually keep our communities safe.