Articles

Bill C-71

The most recent gun-control legislation, Bill C-71 has now been passed by the House of Commons and has been sent to the Senate for possible amendments and passage. In the 2015 election, the Liberal Party committed to reverse changes to the rules covering legal firearms owners that had been brought in by the previous Conservative government. Bill C-71 would change the background check system, add new record-keeping requirements for retailers and further restricts the transporting of a restricted firearm (hand guns) by owners. The chief firearms officer in each province conducts background checks on anyone applying for a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) — something all firearms owners must have before they can legally purchase a firearm in this country.  Bill C-71 would further extend the reach of those investigations beyond the current five year limit.

Under this Bill, firearms retailers will need to keep accurate records of transactions and will need to verify the person they are selling to has a valid PAL.

For guns in the “restricted” category, owners must have an Authorization to Transport (ATT) to take their properly locked firearms outside of their homes or gun clubs. Currently, an owner can obtain an ATT to include specific reasons to transport: to/from home and club, to/from a firearms repair facility, to/from a specified event. There have been virtually no criminal incidents resulting from this practice since it was instituted, but under C-71, the ATT requirements for legal gun owners will be toughened restricted to travel between gun club and home. All others will require a separate application. Ontario and most provinces maintain stringent rules and regulations with respect to safe storage of firearms. The penalty for improper storage is steep.

I share the view of what I believe is the vast majority of Canadians, me who are more concerned about reducing the criminal use of firearms that are sourced from the illegally smuggled guns flowing from the United States, directly into the hands of gangs and drug dealers. These firearms, almost exclusively high capacity handguns, are smuggled and sold on the highly profitable black markets of Canada’s urban centres. There is no question that guns in the hands of criminals pose the greatest threat to public safety. I believe that Bill C-71 brings an improvement to the background checking needed for licence holders but otherwise does little to nothing to improve public safety. It seems to only be adding additional administrative burdens upon licenced firearms owners who are already following rigorous rules.   My party has pledged that if elected to government we will enact tougher laws and give more resources toward reducing the criminal possession of guns.Here is an interesting video from M.P. Glen Motz; facebook.com/GlenMotz