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Bill C-71: Trudeau Liberals
Target Legal Firearms Owners

Bill C-71: Target Legal Firearms Owners  Lake Superior News

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  April 13, 2018  (LSN) When Justin Trudeau's Liberals were running in the last federal election in Canada, they promised Canadians would enjoy legalized marijuana. Simultaneously, Justin Trudeau promised firearms owners that a newly elected Liberal government would not resurrect the federal long gun registry that was scrapped by the Conservatives under Steven Harper. So what do these two issues even remotely have in common? If you are a firearms owner who thought Trudeau was going to be the coolest Prime Minister ever, because of his promise to legalize pot, then let's talk about Bill C-71. 

   Over two weeks ago the federal government tabled Bill C-71 with the stated goal of introducing federal firearms controls in the name of "reducing crime" and "making it harder for criminals to commit gun violence." The Bill was introduced in a timely manner. It's as though the Liberals were sitting on it and just waiting for what they believed would be the perfect moment to drop this little bomb on firearms owners. Therefore, in the wake of a recent mass shooting at a Florida highschool, and with an ever present gun control lobby effort right here in Canada, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Federal Liberals were eager to pounce on some low hanging fruit, so to speak.

   On that note, right about now I'm guessing some Canadian firearms owners are sitting back and in typical Canadian fashion many of them are somewhat complacent, maybe not even paying very much attention to what Justin Trudeau is up to. Some of these firearms owners may even have become supporters of Justin and some of his election platforms. I mean, the guy has to be pretty cool if he wanted to legalize pot! Right? Of this, I'm absolutely certain because I know firearms owning individuals who certainly enjoy a bit of recreational "smoke" every now and then. I also know they bit hook, line and sinker when Justin and his gang promised not to dig up and resurrect the long gun registry that was scrapped by the previous Conservative Government. So what's wrong with this picture? Everything.

   Bill C-71 is problematic for a lot of reasons for firearms owners. In a nut shell, the proposed legislation calls for more detailed back ground checks and more rigid record keeping procedures for firearms retailers. But the proposed legislation is "dressed" as a wolf in sheep's clothing in my view. Should firearms owners support a piece of legislation that will keep firearms out of the hands of mentally deranged psychotics and criminals if these new laws genuinely reduce gun violence and firearm deaths? Absolutely they should. Does Bill C-71 do that? No, it doesn't in my opinion. But it opens the door to violating a good many of the rights that law abiding firearms owners currently enjoy.

   For example, back ground checks which I'm certain we all agree are necessary, will dig down not into the previous 5 years of a firearms owner's life, but rather these back ground checks will dig down into the entire life of the individual. So whatever dirt this screening process will make fair game of digging up dirt from your past dating back to well, birth! Is that fair? Can a person have a moment in their life and recover from it and move on? Will this screening process uncover some small detail that occurred 20 years ago in someone's life and hold it against them for wanting to buy a shotgun to hunt partridge? It would seem that this screening process has been designed not to determine if a person has shown recent tendencies or the potential toward demonstrating violence, but rather the screening process seems designed to find some fault with most everyone in order to justify the denial of a person's attempt to own or acquire a firearm.   

   Here are some questions that firearms owners need to be asking their Federal Member of Parliament:

·     Who evaluates the information resulting from a background check?

·     What qualifications do they have to evaluate this information?

·     Whose opinion(s) will form the basis for an investigation and by what legislative authority?

·     What is the criteria the evaluations are based on?

·     Why is there no appeal process?

·     What is the start-up cost and annual operating cost for this system?

·     How did the existing background check system fail? In other words, what is the evidence proving the existing 5-year background check fails its public safety goal?


   What else does Bill C-71 have in store for legal/licensed firearms owners in Canada? Firstly, it will certainly make things more difficult for Restricted Firearms owners to transport their guns. Restricted Firearms owners were formerly permitted certain privileges under the current Authorization to Transport (ATT) permit regulations, however things are going to change in this regard. Afterall, legal/licensed firearms owners with ATT's have been a real crime problem for the feds (I jest). Here's what's changing:

1) Transportation to and from gunsmith will not be permitted under your current ATT. A new system of authorization will replace the current permitting system and it will require you checking in with the feds each time you wish to take your restricted firearm to a gunsmith shop.

2) Transportation to and from gun store/sporting goods store for the purpose of appraisal or sale will not be permitted. Separate ATT authorization will be required each time.

3) Transportation to and from a border point will not be permitted. Current ATT will no longer apply.

4) Transportation to and from a gun show will not be permitted.  


Here are some questions firearms owners need to ask their Federal Member of Parliament about authorizations to transport:


·      Why was “Transport to/from a Gunsmith eliminated?” Was there any public safety issue and, if so, what was it?

·     Why was “Transport to/from a gun store for Appraisal or Sale” eliminated? Was there any public safety issue and, if so, what was it?

·     Why was “Transport to/from a Gun Show eliminated?” Was there any public safety issue and, if so, what was it?

·     Why was “Transport to/from a Border Point eliminated?” Was there any public safety issue and, if so, what was it?

·     What is the government’s estimate of the annual cost to perform these mundane functions individually?

·     Will the four previous ATTs be issued on paper? If not, how will an individual prove they have an ATT for the purpose stated?

·     Was there a cost/benefit analysis completed? If so, what conclusion did it make?


   But the biggest question for firearms owners is this; is Bill C-71 a "back door" firearms registry? Yes, it is. Here's why:

   Business are required to perform licence verification and keep records which will include the individual's information and all information regarding the firearm(s) transferred. The business must keep the records for twenty years unless the business ceases to be a business. In that case all records must be surrendered to the authorities. What does this mean?

   For the business end of this, this is a gun registry, pure and simple. It isn't a very good one but, anytime you force people to fill out a document that attaches a individual firearm to an individual person, that is a gun registry – and it includes long guns. Dealers must keep the records of the transaction for twenty years and if the business should go out of business, all records must be surrendered to the authorities. The Liberals state the information belongs to the dealer but the truth seems to be that the dealer is merely entrusted with its care-taking.

   Here are some questions firearms owners need to ask their Federal Member of Parliament about the data collection methods associated with purchasing firearms:

·     Businesses are forced to keep a record associating an individual person to an individual firearm. How is this not a gun registry?

·     Are all Licence Verifications entered into a database to track individual firearm owner activity?

·     Who keeps this Licence Verification activity data, for what purpose, and how long will it be retained?

·     Is Licence Verification data attached to an individual's licence? If so, who can access it?

·     What is the criteria for the Licenve Verification to be approved or denied?

·     What is the start-up cost and annual operating cost for the License Verification system?

   The media has a terrible habit of characterizing non-restricted firearms AND legal/licensed firearms owners as the reason for a "gun problem" in Canada/North America. Meanwhile, criminals, gangs and drug related gun crime all get a free pass.  Firearms owners have been down this path before. We learned a few things then.

The Federal Liberals obviously have not. Call, write and email your Federal MP and remind them that they should have learned that targeting law abiding firearms owners is not only destined to be another monumental failure for all Canadians to have to bear the financial cost of, but it's also a great recipe for losing the next federal election.  


John Kaplanis
Contributor to Lake Superior News

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