In Ottawa today, using the prestigious Chateau Laurier hotel as a backdrop, Justin Trudeau gathered a group of anti gun activists and Liberal Ministers to deliver a massive sucker punch to the Canadians firearm community and industry. The usual smug non-answers followed the press conference as journos tried to make sense of the outright assault on legal handgun owners.
So what's in the bill? Let's review.
Handgun "Freeze" - rather than opting for the provincial or municipal handgun bans he promised in a variety of election campaigns, Trudeau announced a "freeze" on the sale, transfer, import and buying of legal handguns in Canada. This of course takes the wind out of the sales of Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca, who's ran a provincial handgun ban as a major part of his campaign. The Federal Liberals state they hope to have this in place by the fall of 2022, but it needs to follow the democratic process. In the meantime, this writer suggests you go gun shopping immediately.
The far-reaching implications of this is that we are but one generation away from the end of handgun sports. IPSC, IDPA, Cowboy Action, many other dynamic shooting genres will die with us. The next generation, nor any new shooters will ever be able to buy a handgun for sport shooting if this receives royal assent. The only ones with handguns will be the police, and the criminals with their illicitly smuggled guns. Armed guards and elite level (Olympic) shooters can get an exemption.
The old C-21 brought back: most of the legislation seems to be a rebirth of the old C-21 from the last parliamentary session, minus the provision for a provincial handgun ban (for obvious reasons), and the codifying of the mandatory "buyback" for the guns banned back in May of 2020.
Domestic Violence: a new provision added makes anyone who has a restraining order against them, or a domestic violence charge, unable to acquire a PAL, and those who already have them will have it revoked. I think all Canadians can agree, we don't want violent abusers to have guns, but without clarification on qualifiers, this measure is easily open to abuse. Watch for more on this at the committee stage.
Evergreening of Classifications: the new C-21 has a built-in provision that will make it very difficult for future government's to reclassify prohibited firearms. Of course, nothing is impossible, but it will require a great deal of encouragement. Restricted certificates would also "expire" upon reclassification of firearms, denying gun owners the opportunity for a Section 74 challenge.
Mag dump: Minister Mendicino said today he will be tabling regulations to ensure that no long gun mag can ever accommodate more than the legal limit of cartridges, regardless of caliber or action, a measure that may or may not impact every .22, Lee Enfields, Henry's and a long list of other common hunting guns. They've also added a new criminal code offence for modifying a magazine - solving a problem that doesn't exist.
Red/Yellow Flags: Again, another set of measures that already exist. Law Enforcement has the full weight of their power to seize and remove firearms already, but this appeases a group of underinformed women's groups and anti gun lobbyists. Theatre.
Airsoft Ban - Toy story: We were almost surprised to see the resurrection of airsoft bans brought back into the new C-21, but there it is. This has nothing to do with public safety, and everything to do with ideology - Liberals don't want people "playing" gun related games.
In conclusion, while the CCFR acknowledges there may be valuable provisions in Bill C-21, we are concerned about privacy issues and misuse. Other aspects of the bill should be objectionable to most Canadians whether they own firearms or not. The (eventual) handgun ban, clearly targets the wrong people and shows a distinct contempt for roughly 650,000 Canadians who maintain their licenses, comply with regulations, and own and use their firearm responsibly. The ban should offend victims as it will do nothing to stop the violence that concerns every Canadian.
We suggest this bill is a result of political calculation, for these reasons the CCFR will vigorously oppose this bill.
The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights aims to be a strong and reputable, public-facing voice for Canadian firearms owners. We are committed to maintaining our current rights and freedoms while continuing to push as a mobilizing and organizational force for positive legislative change.