Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleagues for speaking in support of the bill, my colleagues who are friends of firearms owners across this country and friends of hunters and anglers, which is actually quite a large group in Canada.
I want to especially thank the member for Red Deer—Lacombe for perfectly illustrating exactly why this bill was brought forward. He gave an example of a firearms owner who, in good faith, went through the renewal process of his PAL, which is a firearms licence in Canada. He did it six months prior to the expiration date and because of slow-moving bureaucracy, especially with respect to firearms licences in this country, the day that particular licence expired he became a criminal. That is the way the Criminal Code views a law-abiding person who in good faith did what he was supposed to do. This example perfectly illustrates why we have a need for this kind of legislation in our country.
I am disappointed that members on the other side would go into different parts of a question and always throw violence and different kinds of issues at firearms owners in this country. I am a law-abiding firearms owner. I have several firearms in my house. I know there are a lot of people in the chamber right now who own firearms and do so lawfully. To equate the entire group of firearms owners across this country, literally millions of them, to bad people who do not obey the law and are somehow more violent is a stretch, to me. I struggle with that.
This would be a reasonable firearms change. I call all firearms owners “Grandpa Joe”. I have referred to him before in video that I have done. The last thing we want to see is Grandpa Joe go to jail simply because his firearms licence did not come in the mail in time. That is why I proposed the bill.
I hope members on the other side actually read the bill and understand what they are saying in their speeches. By what I have heard them say in the debate, they clearly do not know what the bill says or what it would help lawful firearms owners do.
The 10-year licensing, in terms of renewal time, is in the bill. It is very similar to what we have now with respect to our passport regime in Canada, 10 years to update.
What is evident across the way is a lack of understanding of the continuous eligibility system in Canada. Every firearms owner gets checked every 24 hours. If somebody should not own a firearm anymore because of violence or some other kind of issue, that licence is immediately red flagged and the RCMP is tasked to revoke the licence.
We already have a system in place that takes care of this. I am just trying to help firearms owners with delayed bureaucracy. They should not be criminalized simply because they own a firearm.
I have used one example many times. We all have a vehicle licence, but just because it expires does not make one a criminal. With a firearms licence, it does.
We have heard about five years as a minimum time in jail for simply not renewing a firearms licence. This is exactly what the bill is trying to fix. Lawful firearms owners across this country support the bill. It is very straightforward.
I will give the House one quote. My bill reflects “the reality that every firearms licence in Canada is reviewed every day by the police. The RCMP's Continuous Eligibility should equate to continuous entitlement to possess firearms.” Tony Bernardo of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association said that.
One the largest sport shooting groups across this country supports licensing firearms owners. We are not saying we do not want licensing for firearms owners, not at all. We are just saying that we do not want Grandpa Joe to go to jail simply because a bureaucracy did not get his licence back to him within six months. We have a sitting member of Parliament who did not get his licence in time and would have been a criminal at that particular moment in time. To me, that is exactly what the bill would fix. I trust members on both sides and across the way in government will support my bill.