New firearm laws will not increase public safety, says local resident

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MANITOULIN – The federal government’s announcement of having strengthened gun laws in the country will not do anything to help in terms of increased public safety, says the secretary of the Manitoulin Marksman Club. 

“It does not do anything to increase public safety,” stated Bill Elliott on Monday to the news of the government’s announcement of Bill C-71, An Act to Amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms has received Royal Assent.

“Basically what this legislation does is roll back some of the simplification that the Conservative government had put in plan for transporting restricted firearms. Before, the Conservatives put in place six different ways you could transport firearms without authority, including, for example, going to and from gun shop to get a firearm repaired, appraised or on border exits.”

“I think the way things are set up in the new legislation, it will require the Chief Firearms Officer authority on everything except to transfer a firearm to and from a shooting range, and picking up a new firearm from a store,” continued Mr. Elliott. “But, for instance, now you will need to phone the Chief Firearms Officer for permission to transport a firearm to get it fixed.”

“Now to most people, this probably doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but firearms owners will have to do get authority for everything, except bringing their firearm back and forth from a shooting range,” said Mr. Elliott. “All it does is provide more work for the Chief Firearms Officer to justify their salary.”

“It does nothing to increase public safety,” stated Mr. Elliott. “Joe Bang Bang from Mississauga won’t be going through all this.”

On June 21, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale and the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced that Bill C-71, An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Regulations in Relation to firearms received Royal Assent.

“These common-sense gun laws prioritize public safety and effective police work while being fair to legitimate, law-abiding firearms owners and businesses,” said Mr. Goodale, in a release. “Together with major new investments in enforcement and prevention, our government is taking comprehensive action to combat rising gun violence and keep Canadians safe.”

“Although Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, we cannot ignore the increase in gun violence” said Mr. Blair. “Canadians have expressed legitimate concerns about the increase in gun violence in their communities. This legislation is a measured and appropriate response to help keep communities safe.”

Under the new legislation, it helps ensure people with a history of violence are not granted a license to own firearms through expanded background checks that consider the applicant’s lifetime history, not just the preceding five years; help keep firearms out of the wrong hands by requiring sellers to verify the validity of a firearms licence before selling a non-restricted firearm; help police tracing guns used in crimes by requiring businesses to keep point-of-sale records for non-restricted firearms; requires authorization to transport restricted and prohibited firearms to locations other than the range (e.g. gunsmith, gun show, etc), through strengthened transportation requirements; and safeguards the impartial classification of firearms by putting the responsibility in the hands of technical experts, who make these determinations based on the Criminal Code, the release notes.

Mr. Elliott pointed the Recorder to an editorial by Brian Lilley of the Globe and Mail on the issue, titled ‘Trudeau’s rifle ban idea won’t hurt the criminals. If there was any doubt that the Trudeau government’s plans for new gun control measures were more about politics than public safety, that doubt evaporated on Friday.’ The latter pointed out that gun violence comes in the form of handguns-illegal handguns mostly smuggled into Canada from the United States.

Mr. Lilley questioned how the federal government plan to take rifles away from people who have already passed universal background checks, taken and passed a safety course, applied for a licence and been vetted by the RCMP stop the gun violence the public is concerned about?

It won’t, he wrote. He wrote that the real problem with guns and violence in Canada stem from gangs, pointing to the latest homicide number from Statistics Canada which showed that there were 266 firearm-related homicides out of a total of 660 murders in 2017. 

Mr. Elliott added, “it’s like the government is trying to pick from the low flying fruit to show authority and that they are doing their job. But the laws will not prevent the shooting that took place at the Toronto Raptors victory parade last week, or gang bangers shooting it out in the streets with no thought of hitting innocent bystanders. It doesn’t cure the problem. It only affects the legal gun owners, not ones that they need off the streets.”