Mr. Speaker, first, we are merging possession only licence and possession and acquisition licence. This will give 600,000 experienced firearms owners the ability to purchase firearms.
Second, we are restricting the authority of the Chief Firearms Officer because the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats have been exercising their powers willy-nilly for far too long. The bill would bring oversight to these bureaucrats.
Third, we will create a grace period at the end of the five-year licence. This will prevent otherwise law-abiding gun owners from becoming overnight criminals due to an error in paperwork.
We will also end needless paperwork around authorizations to transport restricted and prohibited firearms by making them automatically issued with a firearms licence. If people are qualified to have a gun in their homes, they are qualified to safely transport it.
Last, but certainly not least, we will create an ability for the elected government to oversee the classification of firearms.
As we all remember, in February 2014, tens of thousands of Canadians became criminals overnight when the Canadian firearms program unilaterally decided to reclassify the CZ858 and the Swiss Arms family of rifles. It did this without seeking approval and without so much as a heads up to their elected boss, the Minister of Public Safety. This is completely unacceptable, and we will create a process so this never happens again.
I can confirm that as soon as the bill receives royal assent, we will move to restore these firearms to their previous classification of non-restricted.
This is clearly good legislation, but do not just take my word for it.
The National Post editorial board said that the common sense firearms licensing act was: “good news for responsible gun owners, and good news, as the name suggests, for common sense”
Greg Farrant of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said:
The changes proposed in Bill C-42 will make life easier for these people because there will be less needless paperwork....Bill C-42 proposes reasonable amendments to sections of the Criminal Code that make sense, that eliminate red tape, and introduce additional public safety measures. It does not make guns easier to get. It does not allow firearms owners to transport them at will wherever they want, and it does not put guns in the hands of the “wrong people”..
Tony Bernardo, the Executive Director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, said:
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association supports Bill C-42. Our members believe it's a positive step toward fairness for lawful firearms owners, and it has absolutely no negative impact on public safety.
Despite this wide range of support from experts, the NDP and Liberals still oppose these common sense measures. Both parties are evidently still dead set on returning to the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry.
The NDP leader was unequivocal that if he were to form a government, he “We will bring in something that allows the police to track every gun in Canada”. The Liberal Leader has said, “If we had a vote tomorrow, I would vote once again to keep the long-gun registry”.
Clearly, neither party understands the realities of rural Canada. Our Conservative Party will always stand up for the rights of rural Canadians and for the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
I know firearms owners are interested in this legislation and are following these debates very closely. Websites like Gun Owners of Canada are very useful tools for spreading information and these individuals will be judging how they will vote in the upcoming election accordingly.
I hope members opposite can cast aside the orders of their big Ottawa bosses and vote the will of their constituents, and vote for the common sense firearms licensing act.