RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki initially recommended the federal government not share information about the types of firearms used in the Nova Scotia mass shooting – a stance she apparently changed a few days later.
Emails released Monday by a public inquiry say Lucki wrote to then-Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s chief of staff and deputy minister on April 23, 2020, days after the gunman killed 22 people. using multiple guns.
She lists the names of two semi-automatic pistols and two semi-automatic rifles used by the killer, and says the information should not be sent further than the prime minister and minister, as the information is “directly related to this active activity”. investigation.”
However, by the time of a press conference on April 28, Lucki’s stance had changed, as she appeared unhappy with the RCMP superintendent. Darren Campbell had refused to provide reporters with details of the weapons.
She commented in an email to Blair’s chief of staff that afternoon that Campbell’s refusal to release the information was “not the execution I expected”.
Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office are accused of pressuring Lucki to divulge details of the type of weapons used by the shooter, with two RCMP officials – including Campbell – alleging Lucki told them that the information was related to upcoming gun legislation.
After the allegations surfaced during the public inquiry into the April 18-19, 2020 mass shooting, the Conservatives and NDP accused the Liberals of using tragedy to advance their gun control policy .
Lucki acknowledged in a statement that she “expressed her frustration with the flow of information” during a meeting with the Nova Scotia RCMP in the hours following the April 28 news conference.
However, both Blair and Lucki have denied there was any pressure to release a list of the weapons used in the shooting, and in fact neither they nor the Nova Scotia RCMP released this information to the public before. until it was reported by the media in November 2020. .
Some firearms and criminal investigation experts have suggested that lost in partisan bickering is the issue of the public’s right to know the firearms in question.
AJ Somerset, the author of a book on gun culture, told The Canadian Press that people who knew they had been involved in selling a gun to the mass killer would avoid everything contact with the police, whether the details of the weapons have been released or not.
However, the Public Inquiry recently issued additional subpoenas to the RCMP, following concerns that the federal police had withheld documents. The public inquiry continues to “seek assurance that nothing else is held up,” Emily Hill, the commission’s lead counsel, said in an email last week.
The government announced the assault weapons ban on May 1, 2020, after Cabinet approved an Order in Council enacting the changes.