BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
After a few weeks in our ridings meeting with constituents, Members of Parliament returned to Ottawa and with great fanfare Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale introduced the Liberals’ new firearms legislation.
As I have said before, I support legislation that will keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. However, what the Liberals have proposed does very little to make our communities safer. Instead, this bill targets law-abiding firearms owners by adding more red tape to lawful firearms ownership and to people buying non-restricted firearms in Canada.
Unfortunately, as my Conservative colleagues and I predicted, this legislation also includes the return of the long-gun registry. They have not only gone through the back door with a new reference system where every non-restricted firearm is going to need a reference number and be tracked by the registrar, but also deliberately handing, through the front door, a copy of the old long-gun registry data to the Quebec government.
This is despite the fact that during the election campaign the Liberals promised that they would not re-introduce a long-gun registry. With this legislation it is clear that the Liberal government does not believe the rights of law-abiding firearms owners should be protected, or that they need to keep the promises they made to rural Canadians.
It is important to remember that Canada already has a rigorous firearms safety system. Firearms owners must hold a valid firearms licence in order to acquire and possess a firearm. They must also pass the required Canadian Firearms Safety Course and undergo a thorough screening process as well as police background checks.
I was surprised to see the Prime Minister’s tweet following the introduction of the Liberal firearms bill that said, and I quote:
“…if you want to buy a gun, by law you’ll have to show a license at the point of purchase. Right now, that’s not a requirement.”
The Prime Minister is giving the false impression that an individual can easily walk into a firearms store and purchase a firearm without showing their licence. Canadian firearms law Section 23 states that an individual must hold a firearm licence in order to purchase a firearm. And further, anyone who has recently purchased a firearm or ammunition (or even wants to simply look at a firearm at a local store) knows they must verify that they hold a licence by showing it to the salesperson.
Keeping firearms out of the hands of violent criminals should be the number one priority of any new firearms legislation. This Liberal bill falls well short of that. As a firearms owner myself, I will continue to push for common sense legislation that focuses on the criminal element behind firearms violence, instead of targeting Canada’s law-abiding outdoor community.