moved that Bill C-269, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (exemption of long guns from registration), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to have an opportunity to maintain a very strong commitment I made to the constituents of my riding of Fundy--Royal and, I might add, to an issue that resonates very much throughout rural Canada with regard to a piece of legislation introduced by the government that may be very noble in intent in terms of deterring the criminal use of firearms, but which has become one of the largest fiscal boondoggles we have had in Canadian history. The bill I am referring to is commonly known throughout the country as Bill C-68.
Here is what we are advocating. We all categorically agree that any modern society needs to have provisions in place with respect to the handling of firearms so that individuals who acquire them are properly trained in their use. We need to have provisions in place whereby firearms are stored under lock and key in a place separate from the ammunition. The ammunition should be in one compartment and the firearm itself in another one to avoid any kind of accidental harm.
Members may be familiar with the fact that all of the provisions I have outlined were in what was termed to be one of the most progressive pieces of firearm legislation in the industrialized world, that is, this country's legislation formerly known as Bill C-17, introduced by the Progressive Conservative government. It never had a chance to be measured as to the degree of success it could actually entail.
The bill I have put forward does this. All the safe handling provisions, all the acquisition certificates that Bill C-68 and its predecessor Bill C-17 had and all the issues from a safety perspective are still in place, with the exception that it does not call for the registration of long guns such as rifles and shotguns which are utilized throughout Canada by deer hunters, duck hunters and farmers. We know that registering long guns belonging to deer hunters, duck hunters and farmers will not deter the criminal use of firearms. In fact, I might add that it is an arbitrary tax on those individuals. What we want to do is deter the criminal use of firearms.
The bill is a surgical strike on Bill C-68, keeping the good elements contained in it but extracting the most divisive element. Those weapons or firearms that are not restricted or prohibited, essentially long guns such as shotguns and rifles which are used by deer hunters, duck hunters and farmers, are the only firearms that do not need to be registered in a mandatory fashion. That is it.
In our modern society in this great nation hand guns have been registered since the 1930s. We should never touch that issue. However what I am talking about is--