FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer has released a statement supporting Wednesday’s announcement by federal Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer that his party would repeal Bill C-71 if they were to form government.
The Bill, which was introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in March, 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 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.
On Wednesday, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced that a Conservative government would introduce legislation to repeal the Bill if it becomes law.
“It does nothing to keep Canadians safe. It does nothing to address gang violence or target gang criminals. In fact, the word ‘gang’ doesn’t even appear in the bill,” Scheer said. “All C-71 does is target the most responsible and the most vetted members of our society.”
MP Zimmer released a statement this morning saying he supported the move.
“I have said from its introduction in the House of Commons that the Liberal Firearms Bill does nothing to make communities safer and treats our law-abiding firearms owners like criminals,” said Zimmer.
“I commend Mr. Scheer for being the only national leader to stand up and defend the rights of lawful firearms owners. The number one priority of any government should be the safety of Canadians. That is why a Conservative Government will repeal the Liberal’s ineffective firearms legislation and replace it with a law that targets criminals, protects Canadians and respects sport shooters and law-abiding firearms owners.”
In addition to representing the riding of Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, Zimmer also serves as Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus.