Good morning, Mr. Chair and committee members. My name is Tracey Wilson and I am an avid hunter, sport shooter, mother, and grandmother.
I've been monitoring the committee hearings for Bill C-71 so far, and there seems to be a significant emphasis on domestic violence 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%, is thrown out.
The CCFR is a group that uses fact in its arguments. That's one of the reasons we enjoy so much support. We don't exaggerate data or fill the room with people holding signs to fool or guilt people into 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 behaviour. We are also people who want Canadians to be safe, and we want women to be safe. 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, StatsCan reports consistently that less than 1% of all police-reported incidents of domestic violence have a firearm present. As I've said before on this topic, the StatsCan 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? Is it one-tenth of one-tenth of one per cent? Ninety-nine point nine nine per cent of gun owners are not involved in this type of behaviour, and our position is that they need not to be punished for the acts of a handful of people who are already breaking the existing law. No group of Canadians other than the millions of gun owners in this country is forced to wear the collective guilt for crimes committed by the very few.
Right now, if a woman feels threatened, she can call in a safety concern to the Canadian firearms program. There's a 1-800 number 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.
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 resources need to be allocated. Bill C-71 doesn't make women safer, and if the government had a bill that did, we would be happy to support it.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.