It’s too late to consider a handgun ban before the 2019 federal election this fall, but the Trudeau government will explore it if re-elected.

Bill Blair, Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister, refused to tell the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence if a government-initiated report on the effects of a handgun ban would be finished by the time of the election.

“Canadians expect us to take the time to do it right and I’ve been doing my very best to take that time,” Blair said.

He also inferred that further discussion on a handgun ban may have to wait until after the election this fall.

The committee was discussing the proposed Bill C-71, which amends several of the firearms rules in Canada. Some on the committee wanted to see the report before C-71 becomes law.

One senator, Liberal-appointee Marilou McPhedran, questioned Blair on waiting until after the election to deal with the report on the assumption that the Liberals will win.

“It’s not an assumption, it’s an intent,” he answered.

Bill C-71 proposes a number of changes new restrictions to the purchase of firearms and makes changes to the enforcement of current firearms laws and regulations — but comes short of any form of firearm ban.

Blair had promised a report on the effects of a handgun ban, and public consultations, by the end of 2018. Four months into 2019 the report has yet to be completed.

The Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, still discussing C-71, struck down a proposal Monday to put a handgun ban into to the bill.

McPhedran attempted to amend Bill C-71 to include a handgun ban, but that amendment failed 2-6 with three abstentions.

A spokesperson for Bill Blair said that his office plans on releasing the Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction report in “early 2019.”

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