The CCFR sent two delegates to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security yesterday to voice our opposition of bill C-71.
C.E.O. & Executive Director Rod Giltaca and V.P. of Public Relations & registered lobbyist Tracey Wilson appeared before committee as witnesses to provide testimony on the analysis and contentions we have on this bill, as well as to refute some rhetorical debate that had occurred within the committee proceedings.
Rod started off testimony for the 4-person panel of experts opposing the legislation, speaking largely about the frustration of gun owners for being constantly vilified by government and media. (see his statement below). He also voiced the community's frustration with misleading and false messaging being disseminated by the Liberal Party distorting the publics understanding of the legislation.
Tracey, again, came armed with facts highlighting that the CCFR argues with data and expertise and doesn't resort to tactics like "holding up pictures of scary guns to fool or guilt people into agreeing with poor policy ideas". The Liberals have attempted to make their new long gun registry about the abuse of women and domestic violence, none of which is affected at all by C-71. Wilson informed the committee that despite the clearly "cherry-picked" evidence the Liberals offered, the government's own data (Statistics Canada) reports that less than 1% of domestic violence calls even have a firearm present. *Present could mean locked in a safe, in another room, or simply at the address under Stats Cans definition of "present"
The Liberals later retorted, stating that gun owners should be held responsible for women who don't report the abuse to authorities and that they have some inherent obligation to tolerate further regulation as the government deems necessary.
When the Liberals had the opportunity to question the panel, Peter Fragiskatos was the first to show the Liberals trademark ignorance. Instead of arguing the points to ensure the government lived up to its responsibility to develop fair and effective legislation, Fragiskatos spent his entire time attacking the CCFR and its members directly. Then as predicted only minutes before, Fragiskatos held up pictures of scary looking guns and proceeded to place guilt on Canadian gun owners for the mass shootings in the United States.
As it turns out, the CCFR's statement regarding bad behaviour of government, read like a schedule of events and was adhered to with every bit of discipline the Liberals could muster. Unexpected was the same MP's behaviour when the anti-gun witness attempted to testify. Instead of asking questions, Fragiskatos ranted on, uncontrolled, using his time as a personal platform to declare his unrivalled virtue.
The same day, an inevitable media article on the CCFR was released, describing the CCFR and it's policies as "radical". Licensed gun owners are again painted as a threat to Canada's safety while no factual argument to justify the author's public indictment was offered. READ IT HERE
Overall, the CCFR brought its members message to the committee supported with facts and delivered in a mature, honest and civilized manner. Unfortunately, the government acted as expected, with arrogant disdain for any opinion different than their own.
Some things never change.
Text of Rod's statement to SECU:
"Thank you Mr. Chair, and thank you to the committee for inviting me and Ms. Wilson to contribute to the discussion around Bill C-71.
As the committee is aware, we represent the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights and what is significant about that, is the CCFR is primarily a public relations organization that is funded by thousands of highly compliant, continuously vetted, individual Canadians who are frustrated with being continually punished for no valid reason.
We are being punished by pointless and ineffective regulations, nonsensical and arbitrary requirements, and vilified by the government and media. Consider this, what force could drive your neighbours, your dentist, the mechanic that works on your car, your MP… to fund, support and even volunteer for a PR organization when there’s so many other, more important things to focus on in life?
It’s the government irresponsibly using its power to implement irrational, political solutions to complex societal problems… alleged solutions like Bill C-71.
This bill is a disaster. It breaks an election promise, it doesn’t make Canadians any safer, it punishes all the wrong people and it diminishes the structure of our democracy. In the last election, the Liberals promised “no new long-gun registry”. So in response, they intend to build an entirely new long-gun registry up to but excluding the serial number and description of the firearm being transferred. The last time they went down this road, the price tag was over 2 billion dollars, and of course, here we go again.
A private transfer of a firearm post C-71, would consist of a process that records everything about the transfer including a mandatory approval by the firearms program (like a restricted firearm… interesting) and an issuance of a “reference number”. This is essentially a database record number. All that would be missing from this registry are 2 additional fields which would be the serial number and description of the firearm.
Personally speaking, I would be completely confident that a few extra fields would be built in for future expansion should the political climate be more permissive.
But regardless, it is a registry, and it has everything to do with firearms.
I’ll mention one more thing on this topic, this entire structure and the obligations it foists upon millions of gun owners who haven’t done anything to deserve it is it has been billed as “simply verifying a license before a transfer”, certainly sounds reasonable and inexpensive. In reality, it’s neither as well as grossly misleading.
Another bizarre measure in C-71 is the revocation of the long term authorization to transport (or ATT) needed for a licensed gun owner to take their handgun to a gunsmith to have it serviced, for example.
It’s not that this activity is no longer acceptable, it absolutely is, but under this bill the owner would need a short term ATT which requires a request to the firearms center, processing, a bureaucratic approval and mailing of a piece of paper which is physically carried by the owner to the gunsmith. This needs to be done every time.
Now remember, this is a licensed gun owner who the government says “yes, you are trustworthy enough to possess a handgun or multiple handguns, and we trust you to go to the range and back, but you can’t go to the gunsmith unless you have an additional piece of paper with you or potentially you might engage in gang activity or sell the firearm to a criminal.
What gang member or domestic abuser is calling the firearm center for an ATT before transporting their firearm their crime scene? This measure is ridiculously wasteful and completely ineffective in changing the behavior of criminals and gang members. I was under the impression that this bill was a response to increasing criminal use of firearms.
One of the worst provisions of this bill is giving the unalterable authority to the RCMP to classify firearms. So as it is now, the RCMP is doing this work but if a mistake or an abuse of this authority occurs, elected representatives can over rule them and correct the situation. The difference post C-71 is that should a situation like this occur, there’s no procedural recourse that can be taken.
The Minister has rejected this uncomplicated and valid criticism by claiming that definitions are defined in legislation and that the RCMP are merely following the instructions. But the reality of this is very different, the RCMP are defining what property is legal and illegal to possess based on their own interpretations and they are the ones who will enforce those decisions. That, in itself is antithetical to how our system works, and for good reason.
Secondly, the existing criteria is so horribly written that almost anything could be classified into prohibition. Without very careful consideration of all aspects of this part of the bill, this could be a real problem for everyone.
I’d like to turn over the rest of our time to Ms. Wilson"
Text of Tracey's statement:
"Mr. Chair, members of the committee, thank you… My name is Tracey Wilson and I am an avid hunter, sport shooter, mother and grandmother.
I’ve been monitoring the committee hearings for C-71 so far and there is a significant emphasis on domestic abuse and the safety of women. Something I’ve heard repeatedly or in different variations are statements like “based on my research” or “in my experience” and then a percentage figure like 26% or 32% or 66%. The CCFR is a group that uses facts in our arguments, that’s one of the reasons why we enjoy so much support. We don’t exaggerate data or fill the room with people holding signs to fool or guilt people in to agreeing with our opinions. We don’t think that is a responsible way to contribute to policy development.
The first thing I want to establish is that gun owners are overwhelmingly great people. We are highly vetted, we are monitored daily for criminal behavior, we are also people that want Canadians to be safe and we want women to be safe so this idea… that if we don’t agree with someone’s bad policy suggestions somehow, we don’t want women to be safe… needs to stop. It’s divisive and it leads to bad policies.
The CCFR uses the Canadian government’s own numbers to support virtually all of its positions. To cut straight to it, Statistics Canada reports CONSISTENTLY less than one percent of all police reported incidents of domestic violence have a “firearm present”. And as I’ve said before on this topic, Stats-can’s definition of “firearm present” could be a firearm in a safe or in another room or simply at the address of the incident. So what is the real number? How many licensed gun owners are threatening their partners with guns? One tenth of one tenth of one percent? 99.99% of gun owners are not involved in this type of behavior and our position is they need not punished for the acts of a handful of people who are already breaking the existing law. No other group of Canadians is forced to wear the collective guilt for crimes committed by the very few, than the millions of gun owners in this country.
Right now, if a woman feels threatened, she can call a safety concern in to the Canadian Firearms Program, there’s a 1-800 for that, and action is taken. Call your local RCMP detachment and tell them that your partner is threatening you with a firearm and see what kind of follow up happens. And by the way, if the existing system is not working then the answer isn’t to create more regulations to not be implemented. If you truly want to make women safer, have resources to support women who are in abusive relationships, it’s as simple as that. That is where the resources need to be allocated.
Bill C-71 doesn’t make women safer. If the government had a bill that did, we would be happy to support it.
Thank you, Mr. Chair."