Mr. Speaker, five minutes is hardly enough time for me to go over all the things I would like to go over, but I will begin and then finish at another date.
I am really pleased to be able to rise and discuss the common sense firearms licensing bill. I am pleased to see the government is standing up for the rights of law-abiding Canadians who enjoy and use firearms.
As members know, I have been fighting for the rights of law-abiding hunters, farmers, and sport shooters for two decades now. I fought the introduction of the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry from the time it was introduced by the Hon. Allan Rock under the previous Liberal government, and I was proud to stand in this place two years ago to support and pass the Ending the Long Gun Registry Act.
The gun registry was the epitome of political pretense. It pretended to protect us by reducing crime, but in fact it did just the opposite. The long and short of it is that criminals do not register their guns and they do not obey laws. It was about time people realized that spending $2 billion of taxpayers' money to keep a list of property of individuals predisposed to obey the law was not a good use of resources.
Equally, I am glad to see that this bill today includes strong measures to focus the use of resources on that which actually prevents crime rather than simply seeking to disarm Canadians.
This legislation will streamline licensing and eliminate needless red tape for responsible gun owners, and it is something that I have advocated for many years. In fact, some measures in Bill C-42 can also be found in my 2009 private member's bill, Bill C-301. They are housekeeping items that will simplify procedures without reducing public safety and include items such as merging the possession only licence with the possession and acquisition licence, for instance, or making the authorization to transport a restricted firearm, more commonly known as ATT, a condition of a restricted licence.
Let me explain, for those in the House who are less familiar with firearms regulations, what an ATT is. An ATT is a document that specifies where a licence-restricted firearm owner may take their property. It may contain a variety of locations or it may be very specific. This is dependent on the whim of the provincial chief firearms officer. It is not in legislation.
If travel to a location outside of those previously approved is needed, more forms must be filled out and more approval must be sought. Some may say that this level of rigour is needed, as restricted firearms can be dangerous in the wrong hands, but the fact of the matter is that those with restricted firearms licences get a background check every day, and the application for an authorization to transport is not even shared with local law enforcement. It is the definition of wasteful paperwork.
It is frustrating for me to sit here and listen to people talk about this thing when they know very little about it. Hopefully, if we get to questions and comments, I can explain more about the lack of knowledge here in regard to this issue.
If the government trusts a restricted licence holder to have a restricted firearm in their home, the government should trust them to travel to appropriate locations to use the firearm. Some have said that this will allow for conceal and carry by the back door; that is absolutely false. All safe transport requirements remain in place, such as unloading a firearm, rendering it inoperable, and placing it in a locked case.
The logic that these ATTs, which are not shared with law enforcement, will somehow reduce crime is the same logic put forward by those who think that registering a firearm will somehow reduce crime. At the end of the day, violent crimes committed with firearms are committed by evil people with evil intentions.
No amount of paperwork or regulation will divert them from their path of wanton destruction. What will stop them is being incarcerated for a lengthy period of time, which is why we passed mandatory prison sentences for those who commit crimes with firearms. As well, we created a specific offence for drive-by shootings.
These measures truly increase public safety and reduce the cost of crime. That is what we are focusing on: tackling those who are predisposed to break the law, rather than those who are simply trying to enjoy a way of life that has been part of Canada's heritage since Confederation.
The focus on safe and sensible firearms policy is the reason this bill amends the Criminal Code to establish firearms prohibition orders for those convicted of domestic violence.
Once this bill is passed, those convicted of serious domestic violence offences, which include offences against a spouse, common-law partner, or dating partner, would be subject to a mandatory prohibition from owning a restricted or prohibited firearm and from owning long guns for a minimum of 10 years.
I am sorry that I had to split this bill and speak to it at a later date, but I look forward to some healthy debate in this House, because there are some serious misconceptions that need to be addressed.