Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity today to join this important debate.
Let me begin by saying two words: Resolute and realistic. I think the Minister of Public Safety said it best. Resolute and realistic is what this government has strived to be since we began tackling gun violence as soon as we were elected to lead this country almost seven years ago, and these adjectives have been our true North Star. We know that no single bill or initiative has the power to single-handedly end gun violence. That is being realistic.
We also know that morally, ethically and humanely we are bound to do all we can, using all resources at our disposal, to stop senseless deaths and injuries from firearms. That is exactly what we are determined to do. In other words, we are resolute. We believe it is the only appropriate response to the tragedies we have seen in our communities, from the École Polytechnique in 1989 to Portapique in 2020 and all the deadly incidents in between that did not receive widespread media coverage precisely because they were all too common. Let us not have any doubt about it: These are preventable deaths. The grief of the victims' loved ones will never be fully soothed, and those who survived will always carry with them the trauma of what they experienced. We must resolve ourselves to do anything and everything that we can to ensure no one else has to live through these horrors. That is why we have introduced decisive actions such as implementing a national freeze on handguns so that no new handguns can be brought into Canada or bought, sold or transferred within the country, and implementing red flag laws to protect those who are most vulnerable from gun violence at the hands of intimate partners. These are the strongest gun control measures this country has seen in over 40 years. These measures will save lives.
I would like to share a few important statistics with my colleagues. We know that the more available guns are, the higher the risk of homicides and suicides. Handguns are the most commonly used firearms in homicides. Suicide by firearm accounted for 75% of all firearms deaths in Canada between 2008 and 2018. Victims of intimate partner violence are about five times more likely to be killed if a firearm is present in the home. Members should think about that. Of guns used in crimes, 58% are traced to domestic sources that are predominantly from straw purchasing and theft. This means that, contrary to what the Conservatives keep telling us, these guns are legally obtained initially. Making handguns unavailable to buy, transfer or sell and prohibiting new handguns from being brought into Canada just makes sense. Reducing the number of guns in our communities means reducing the number of victims of gun violence.
Let us be clear. We are realistic. We know that a national freeze on handguns, however strong and effective a measure it will be, cannot end all forms of gun violence, of course. That is why this bill contains numerous other measures to complement and strengthen Canada's gun laws. A priority for this government is protecting women who are disproportionately victimized by intimate partner violence that often involves guns. Bill C-21 contains legislation to revoke or deny firearms licences for people who have a protection order against them or have been involved in domestic violence, criminal harassment or stalking.
The red flag provisions of this bill are also designed to protect women and other vulnerable persons. Under these provisions, anyone could apply to a court to remove firearms from someone who may be a danger to themselves or others. We can imagine the utility of a law like this. We can imagine the lives saved in situations where people were experiencing abuse and feared for their lives at the hands of their partners who owned a firearm, or for firearms owners who tell their friends they have suicidal thoughts or ideation. Bill C-21 also contains yellow flag provisions, where anyone can ask a chief firearms officer to suspend and examine a licence if there are grounds to suspect that person is no longer eligible to hold a firearms licence.
These are all strong measures, and we know there are those who, as responsible firearms owners, may worry that these new laws would affect them. Canadian gun regulations and requirements are already robust, and we know that the majority of firearms owners take great care to own and operate their firearms safely in accordance with these rules. We have taken care to ensure that the privileges of lawful gun owners would not change. Current handgun owners would continue to be able to possess and use firearms for as long as they own them.
Bill C-21 is targeting handguns, not firearms used for hunting or sport shooting. However, as the Prime Minister has said, there is no reason other than these activities that the general public should need guns in their everyday lives. Let us think about it. All it takes to take a life is the pulling of a trigger. Do Canadians really need to own lethal force to be used at any moment? I do not think so.
Firearms owners can rest assured that, as always, we will consult with Canadians before finalizing and implementing regulations. The bottom line is that Canadians know that this government is serious about gun control and has been since we were elected. Since 2016, we have invested more than $920 million to address gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of gangs and criminals.
Budget 2021 committed $312 million over five years for the CBSA and RCMP to increase intelligence and investigative capacity at the border and increase the RCMP's ability to trace gun crimes and detect straw purchasing. We have made significant strides in combatting gang violence as well, with $250 million committed to support municipalities and indigenous communities with anti-gang programs through the building safer communities fund. This builds on the $358.8 million under the 2018 initiative to take action against gun and gang violence for provinces and territories. This is not to mention that under the leadership of the previous minister of public safety two years ago, we took the bold step of banning assault-style weapons, prohibiting over 1,500 models of such firearms.
This is how we are combatting gun violence and how we will end it. We have a suite of comprehensive measures that prevent it from taking root in the first place, that protect vulnerable individuals when there is reason to believe violence is imminent and that remove guns from the hands of those who have malicious intentions. We cannot wait to take action.
I speak for all my colleagues when I say that we have already seen too much violence in each of our home constituencies. I know I have. There have been too many tears with too much grief, because even one person lost to gun violence is too many. I implore my colleagues to pass Bill C-21 as quickly as possible. Let us end gun violence in Canada now.