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An open letter to Heidi Rathjen on C-71

Heidi and I agree on something, finally! “Bill C-71 is devoid of any bold measures to combat the upward trends of gun-related crime, homicides and suicides” (from her June 18/2018 opinion piece in the Hill Times). READ IT

That is where any type of agreement ends however. The disdain for legal firearms owners is flowing hard on this one. She dedicates one sentence in the whole diatribe to combatting gun related crime. The rest is a rabid list of everything she wants licensed law-abiding gun owners subjected to. She isn’t even pretending it’s about crime anymore. And with that, Heidi went off the deep end.

Her claims of wanting repair to the damage inflicted on our gun laws by the Harper government come without evidence or example. Exactly what “damage” are we as a country currently suffering from at the hands of legal gun owners? She voices great concern over ATT’s, the piece of paper we used to need to take our restricted firearms to and from 5 places; a certified range, a firearm retailer, a port of entry (border), a gun smith to have repairs or maintenance done and a police station should we wish to turn in our firearm for destruction. Her claim that we can travel virtually “anywhere in our province” is not just fear mongering, but outright wrong. In fact, we are still only allowed to travel to these same 5 locations, however we do not need a special paper permit for each instance. The ATT is electronically attached to our restricted license, making it easily verifiable electronically by law enforcement. In this digital age is she really trying to claim a piece of paper is somehow more secure than an e-record accessible by police?

Transportation Regulations

Even more theatrical is her idea that somehow stream-lining this over-burdened system puts Canadians at risk of gun violence. This intentional portrayal of sport shooters and hunters as some dark, violent group is not only disingenuous but a direct attack on Canada’s most vetted citizens. Canadians know full well it isn’t us running the streets of Toronto shooting each other up or attacking farmers and ranchers in rural communities. She doesn’t have any intention of working on that segment of society, she is content to continue her assault on millions of Canadians using misinformation and downright untruths as her weapons to instill fear.

Patting MP Pam Damoff on the back for her amendment speaks to her lack of knowledge of the screening process now. There is already a system in place for women who have concerns about the men in their life who own firearms. Call in a safety concern to the Canadian Firearms Program and see what happens.

Meanwhile Pam quotes an American article about mass shooters during debate, “I keep hearing this term “law abiding gun owners. Well, they are only law abiding until they aren’t”. Did Damoff just imply that Canadian hunters and sport shooters are murderers in wait? This whole mindset is disturbing coming from an elected official. Pair that with Holland’s statement that gun owners are thugs and stir it with Nault’s testimony that “there are a lot of mental issues with people who own firearms” and we have ourselves a trilogy of Liberal ridiculousness that shills well for the anti-gun lobby.

If we are ever going to have an honest discussion about firearms in this country our elected officials need some education about our community and the existing laws and regulation. This atmosphere of dishonesty is dangerous for us all.

The whole idea of this opinion piece is a prime example of her self-serving, elitist attitude. How dare millions of gun owners who haven’t done anything wrong have a voice! How dare we as firearm enthusiasts demand our government do the hard work of combatting actual crime! Why have dozens of qualified experts in this field speak to the absolute fact that we aren’t the problem? Why listen to evidence at all when we can simply hold up photos of guns to scare Canadians!

Her voice isn’t the only one. I for one am sick of this ridiculous spectacle too Heidi, the tired ranting of an anti-gunner desperately trying to remain relevant.

Her continual efforts to divert resources away from the areas they are really needed like law enforcement or border agencies is unconscionably wrong. The government would rather save that money and deprive law enforcement of its resources, while covering that up by passing ineffective laws against law abiding gun owners, and anti-gun groups are happy to join them in that deception.

Let’s hope the Senate recognizes this charade for what it is and sends C-71 back to the drawing board.

Tracey Wilson

~Wilson is the Vice President of Public Relations for the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR), a registered lobbyist, an avid hunter and sport shooter, a mother of two and a grandmother. Tracey resides in Ottawa with her teenage daughter where she continues her work advocating for Canadian firearms owners.

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