OTTAWA, O.N. — Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer has issued a statement criticizing new firearms regulations announced by the federal government on Tuesday.
Bill C-71 was introduced in the House of Commons on Tuesday by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. If it passes, the legislation would expand the scope of background checks on gun license applicants to cover their entire life, instead of just the past five years.
Other new rules in the legislation would require commercial gun retailers to keep “ledgers” of gun inventories and sales for a period of 20 years, though private gun sellers would be exempt. Those ledgers would be able to be accessed by police after obtaining a warrant, something that federal authorities in the United States don’t need. Anyone purchasing a gun both privately and commercially would also be required to present a valid firearms license before the sale is made.
The proposed legislation would roll back some automatic authorizations to transport restricted and prohibited firearms, such as handguns and assault weapons. Under the bill, owners wouldn’t need a permit to take them to a shooting range or home from a store, but would need to apply for a transport permit to take them to a gun show or a gunsmith.
The bill would also restore the authority of RCMP experts to say which firearms would be classified as restricted or prohibited.
The federal government says the legislation was introduced to combat firearms-related crime that has increased in recent years. There were 2,465 criminal violations involving firearms in 2016, an increase of 30 percent since 2013. Gun homicides rose from 134 to 223 during that timeframe.
Zimmer said in a statement today that the proposed legislation contains too much red tape, and treats law-abiding gun owners like criminals.
“As I have said before, I support the idea of more vigorous background checks. However, the legislation introduced this week does little to make our communities safer. Keeping firearms out of the hands of violent criminals should be the number one priority in any new firearms legislation. This bill falls well short of that and instead is treating law-abiding firearms owners like criminals by creating needless red tape.
This legislation is not only a backdoor attempt at a wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry, it also re-establishes a front door registry by handing data that was supposed to be destroyed over to the Quebec government.
It is clear that this government does not believe the rights of law-abiding firearms owners should be protected. 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.”