Recently, Bill C-71, the Liberal Firearms Bill, passed third reading in the Senate, which means it only needs to receive Royal Assent before it becomes law. We are still waiting to find out when this will happen, but we do know what it will mean for lawful firearms owners when it does.
First, this legislation does nothing to prevent violent crime or deal with gang activity. In fact, the word “gang” does not even appear in the Liberal Firearms Bill. All it does is senselessly target our already highly-vetted lawful firearms owners.
Second, it will establish a backdoor registry that will require anyone who wants to transfer a non-restricted firearm to call the Registrar of Firearms to verify the purchaser’s firearms licence and receive a registration number. Records of purchases, including the individual’s information and information on the firearm, will also need to be kept by business owners for 20 years.
A registrar keeps registries and these requirements for non-restricted firearms sales and transfers clearly re-establish the long-gun registry. The last time a Liberal government introduced a long-gun registry they said it would cost $2 million and it ended up costing $2 billion. I firmly believe this time will be no different.
Third, this law will establish a front door registry by giving the Government of Quebec access to a portion of the old long-gun registry. This is information that should have been destroyed and only exists to fulfill an individual Canadian’s access to information request. Because of this, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale should not be able to authorize the Commissioner of Firearms with handing over a copy of this data to a provincial government. I am deeply concerned about what this will mean for the privacy of firearms owners who may be included in this old document.
And fourth, Bill C-71 will remove automatic Authorization to Transport (ATT) for prohibited and restricted firearms unless it is to and from a nearby shooting range and to the purchaser’s home following the sale. This means that any time a firearms owner needs to go to a gunsmith for repair, for example, they will be required to fill out a permit to do so. This will only create unnecessary red tape that will punish lawful firearms owners. No criminal has ever applied for an ATT before carrying out a crime.
Rest assured, a Conservative government will repeal C-71. Not only that but we will focus on measures that actually reduce crime like giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, cracking down on illegal firearm smuggling, and getting tough on gangs.
We will do all this while also respecting the rights of our country’s law-abiding firearms owners.
Bob Zimmer is the Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies