Far too often, law-abiding firearms owners receive unfair treatment. As Canadians, we have a strong culture built upon our ability to hunt and fish, and also respect for our environment. Law-abiding gun owners show that respect. They follow the rules, and it is time that the Government stop treating them like criminals and bogging them down with complicated regulatory processes.
Conservatives have always supported the right of Canadians to own guns. However, responsibility comes with that right, and that is why we have always supported structured, but simple processes that don’t compromise the security of Canadians.
Responsible firearms owners follow the letter of the law, even when it is abundantly clear that existing laws are incoherent and redundant. That is why I am proud to support legislation that my colleague, MP Bob Zimmer from British Columbia, put forth recently to ensure that no law-abiding gun owner is criminalized for an administrative issue.
As the law currently states, firearms owners who fail to have their paperwork finalized when renewing their licences can be criminalized and see their licence revoked. However, it fails to account for paperwork delays that are the fault of government processing, even if firearms owners are able meet their responsibility and file paperwork on time. There are no safeguards built into the existing legislation that protect the gun owner from being criminalized. This is simply wrong.
Rather than turning law-abiding citizens into criminals, Bill C-346 proposes that licences be suspended, instead of revoked, until the required information is obtained. During suspension, those individuals will not be able to purchase a firearm or ammunition, but they won’t be criminals.
It will also reduce regulatory tape for gun owners by making it mandatory for them to update their information every ten years, similar to the 10-year passport process that we have now. The reality is that every firearms licence in Canada is reviewed every single day. It’s no longer necessary for a firearm owner to constantly seek approval to own a gun, when the RCMP is consistently verifying that the individual is meeting the requirements.
While Conservatives continue to treat firearms owners fairly, the Liberals refuse to create an open and transparent classification process for gun owners. Until recently, Canadian gun owners were unaware of the reclassification of the 10/22 Ruger magazine. This decision was made by the RCMP, without the approval of the Government. It was never debated and was not initially shared with gun owners. Imagine: one day you are a law-abiding citizen, and the next you are in illegal possession of a prohibited device and are now considered a criminal. This was the case for many people who had purchased this firearm legally.
The lack of transparency doesn’t stop there! The Liberals are also content with sneaking back to the Chretien era and re-instating a backdoor gun registry.
Hidden in an implementation bill for the Arms Trade Treaty, they plan to create a backdoor registry that records all firearms that are shipped to or from Canada. Any transactions that happen with those firearms will be kept in electronic data files and can be obtained at the Minister’s request.
It’s time that gun owners were treated with the respect that they deserve. As Conservatives, we will fight for their rights and stop any gun registry in its tracks!