C-71 An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Regulations in relation to Firearms. Read the bill here
The Minister of Public Safety admits that there is rising gang-related violence in Canada and that new legislation is needed. Bill C-71 does not mention the words “gang” or “organized crime” even once. The bill mentions the word “licence” 35 times. Nothing in this bill is aimed at unlicensed criminals or will provoke a change in criminal behavior. This bill is unacceptable and is a clear indication of poor governance. It will also represent a beyond-considerable financial investment in resources and infrastructure that if redirected to law enforcement and support systems would directly result in increased public safety. The following is a simplified and summarized analysis of the most misguided proposed measures and the CCFR’s response.
Proposed Measure: Anyone selling or giving a non-restricted firearm, including private sellers, will be required to verify the validity of the firearms licence of the recipient with the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).
CCFR Position: In the bill, this is accomplished not simply by requiring a person to verify a license before transferring a non-restricted firearm but to obtain permission and a reference number from the Registrar before the transfer can be completed. This is a registry. The only deviation from the previous long gun registry is the identifying information on the firearm. The infrastructure required to accomplish this is the same as the long gun registry of which the cost to taxpayers ended up being two billion dollars.
Proposed Measure: In determining whether a person is eligible for a firearms licence, authorities will be required to consider specific information from the person’s life history whereas; the current requirement to report is the past 5 years.
CCFR Position: This provision represents both a privacy concern as well as discriminatory risk. There may be events in an individual’s distant past that in no way represent a risk when they are applying for a license. This information would now be accessible in government records by a large group of people and could be used for other purposes. As license holders are investigated when they apply and queried by continuous eligibility screening every 24 hours, this measure is clearly unnecessary. Applicants who have perused treatment for mental health issues in the distant past may also face unfair discriminatory action. This proposed measure would have no possible effect on criminal behavior.
Proposed Measure: The only automatic authorization for restricted or prohibited firearms would be for the two most common transport purposes: to an owner’s home following a purchase, and to approved shooting clubs or ranges within the province of residence.
CCFR Position: No evidence is forthcoming to indicate that any significant issues associated with ATT’s have been experienced by law enforcement. There is no demonstrable ATT-related risk to public safety and therefore this measure is completely unnecessary. This proposed measure would have no possible effect on criminal behavior.
Proposed Measure: Granting the RCMP legislated authority to classify firearms.
CCFR Position: The RCMP currently classifies firearms. This process is done under the oversight of elected officials as to ensure should a mistake or improper action occur, that there is recourse and a mechanism for correction. It is antithetical to our system to place law enforcement over government. The CCFR strongly rejects this provision for this reason.
What Can You Do?
1. Phone your MP once per week. The phone calls are very important. Call the constituency office, not the Parliament Hill office. Ask that your MP return the call, only call once per week. Be polite, do not threaten.
If your MP is a Conservative tell them “I’m very concerned with bill C-71 as it does nothing to target criminals and only targets licensed gun owners. What is your plan or the Conservative Party’s plan to combat this? I need to see some commitment in the form of an election platform to roll this back as well as reform our existing regulations.” (Etcetera)
If your MP is a Liberal or NDP member tell them “I’m very concerned with bill C-71 as it does nothing to target criminals and only targets licensed gun owners. We all agree there is escalating gang violence in Canada yet not one proposed measure is aimed at them. It’s extremely irresponsible to support this bill and I will be very disappointed if you support it.” (Etcetera)
2. Educate yourself on the topic. Be able to explain exactly why this is bad legislation. The CCFR and other groups have published a wide variety of material on this topic. Pick two reasons each provision is unnecessary or abusive to you and be able to discuss them.
3. The CCFR will release a variety of sharable educational pieces as the bill progresses. Share all materials as much as you can via social media and politely engage in discourse online. You may not convince the person you are debating, but there are usually hundreds of people witnessing that conversation. Show them you are the calm, reasonable voice and they will begin to think. Remember, the people you are really influencing are the ones who aren’t commenting, have faith that they are listening.
4. Sign the petition!! MP Rachael Harder has sponsored a parliamentary e-petition asking the federal government to scrap C-71 and instead devote greater resources to policing in Canada. Sign today!! #sayNOtoC71