Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Jamie Schmale says the federal government’s assault-style weapon buyback program isn’t focused on what it should be.

“It’s basically showing that aren’t really paying attention to the legal firearms part of it,” he says. “The government  is trying to do something but not actually doing something to address the growing gang-related crime and violence in some of our major cities.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau detailed the plan Tuesday that will see municipalities be allowed to pass bylaws restricting the possession, storage, or transportation of these weapons.

“The government has basically had to do something,” Schmale says. “The individuals who legally purchased those firearms can’t sell them, can’t use them, can’t transport them.”

While not yet confirmed, Schmale says it could cost up to $1 billion to buy the 1,500 types of assault-style weapons that were banned in 2020.

What he’s most concerned about is that the government might not be focusing on the right thing. “Why are we not focusing on where the gangs are getting these firearms from,” he asks. Schmale says the”majority” are being smuggled across the Canada-US border. That is what he says needs to be addressed. Schmale adds that – through the police – the issue of gang violence needs to be looked at as well.

He adds that the definition of what an assault-style weapon is loose. Schmale notes that fully automatic weapons are already banned in Canada. “I think we all want – including me – no automatic weapons in our streets,” he says.

“What (Trudeau) is doing is focusing on a group of people to appear like they’re doing something about these shootings, but these shootings won’t stop,” he says. “It will just give people a false sense of security,” Schmale says. What should happen, according to Schmale, is tougher sentences handed out to people involved in gun-related crimes, stop the smuggling of illegal firearms across the border and work on stopping gang violence in the city.