Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my voice to this debate today and express my severe disappointment that the Liberals are not supporting the legislation.
The legislation is just common sense, especially from the perspective of a firearms owner. Extending a licence for 10 years just makes sense. It would reduce costs and bureaucracy and things like that.
Firearms owners in Canada, when they are broken out as a distinct segment of Canadian society, are the most law-abiding citizens in this country, and that makes sense. Why? When they go to the store to buy a firearm, they are told they cannot purchase it without a licence, so they ask, “What does it take to get a licence?” They then go through the hassle of getting their licence. It involves a three-day course.
I took a three-day course to get my licence. It involved three Saturdays. The first day was a classroom course. The next day was learning how to handle a firearm. The last day I actually went to the range to practise using some firearms. Taking that course taught me how to safely use a firearm. After that I paid $70, mailed in the application, and I waited patiently for six weeks for my firearms licence to come in the mail. It takes six weeks, if things go smoothly. Before this process, I had to get a passport picture taken, have it cut the right way and all that stuff, and three months later I could finally buy my firearm.
It takes three months to buy a firearm. Canadian firearms owners are law-biding citizens because they play by the rules. They understand that in Canada we have the rule of law. If these people are willing to go through all of that effort to get a firearm, then they probably obey the majority of our other Canadian laws as well. I am making the point that Canadian firearms owners are the most law-abiding citizens in this country.
We heard today from other members about cars. They said they register their car and they are grateful for that because then they know that people who should not be on the road are not on the road. It is great that we make sure that people who should not be on the road are not on the road. However, if a driver's licence expires, the car is not taken away and people do not get criminal records. That is what we are getting at here.
I know of an elderly gentleman who has had several firearms. He is in an old-age home at this point and his licence has expired. Officials showed up at the home to ask him where his firearms are. This was very traumatic for this gentleman and his family. This is why we are saying that if people have a 10-year licence, that is great, and if they fail to renew that licence, it would become a suspended licence, but no one would show up at the door to confiscate their firearms and give them a criminal record.
We are busy people here in Canada. We are out there trying to make a living and things like that. We are not necessarily always using our firearms or thinking about our firearms licence.
I just renewed my firearms licence, but I do not remember if I was sent something in the mail. However, I do know that I am not sent anything in the mail for my car registration. I recently received a ticket because I did not renew my car registration. I did not do it because letters are not sent out anymore. People are just expected to remember.
Things get busy and people forget to renew their firearms licences. Why, for the lack of a piece of paper, should people get a criminal record? In Canada, most people get a criminal record for doing something, not for not doing something. That is really what the entire bill is trying to get at. Looking at the other things we get licence for, a car licence is completely different from a firearms licence.
I am going to go right back to what I started with, which is that Canadian firearms owners know the process and obey that process. That proves they are the most law-abiding citizens in this country.