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Presentation on Gun Control

Jun-25-2019:

 



Bill C 71



An Act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to Firearms



What I would like to talk about this evening is:





.  To give you a brief recent history of firearms legislation in Canad



Why we are having firearms legislation again



An update on Bill C-71 and what we know and don’t know about the legislation.



A bit of information on the Quebec gun registry



Talk about the call to ban handguns and semi-automatic firearms by the prime minister



 



Canada has a long history of gun legislation going  back to Pre-1892 the:



Back then a Justices of the Peace had the authority to impose a six-month jail term on anyone carrying a handgun, if the person did not have reasonable cause to fear assault against life or property.



1934 The first Gun registry



The first real registration requirement for handguns was created. The new provisions required records identifying the owner, the owner's address and the firearm. These records were not centralized. Registration certificates were issued and records were kept by the Commissioner of the RCMP or by police departments that provincial Attorneys General had designated as firearms registries 1995Bill C-68 was introduced on February 14.



After Senate approval, Royal Assent was granted on December 5, 1995. Major changes included:



Criminal Code amendments providing harsher penalties for certain serious crimes where firearms are used (e.g., kidnapping, murder);



the creation of the Firearms Act, to take the administrative and regulatory aspects of the licensing and registration system out of the Criminal Code of Canada;



a new licensing system to replace the FAC system; licences are required to possess and acquire firearms, and to buy ammunition; registration of all firearms, including shotguns and rifles.



 



2012

On April 5, Bill C-19, the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, came into force. The bill amended the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to remove the requirement to register non-restricted firearms, ordered the destruction of existing registration records.  However, this did not end the hand gun and restricted firearm registry.



Shortly after, the Government of Quebec filed a court challenge to Bill C-19 to keep their portion of the registry. On March 27, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Quebec's appeal challenging the constitutionality of the provisions of the Ending the Long Gun Registry Act requiring destruction of the non-restricted registration records, and refused to order the transfer of these records to the Province of Quebec.



On June 18, 2015 , Bill C-42,proposed by the Conservative Harper government called the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, received royal assent.



 On September 2, two of the  provisions of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act came into force: the elimination of the Possession Only Licence (POL) and conversion of all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licences;



and the Authorization to Transport becoming a condition of a licence for certain routine and lawful activities. A second piece of paper was not required to transport a firearm.



When the liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came into power they did not like the changes the Harper government made and launched Bill C -71 to gain back some of the things they believe were lost by the changes.



The House of Parliament’s, Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security has finished studying Bill C-71. The  Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters were the only affiliate group to be invited as a witness. They went to Parliament Hill on May 30, 2018 and carried the position of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters and all of the other provincial and territorial organizations.



The Bill passed third reading in the House of Commons and is now at the Senate. It has gone through debate and been referred to the Senate, Standing Committee on National Security and Defence.



The NSFAH has requested to appear before this committee in 2019. To this date there have been no calls for briefs, however, I learned that some witness have been notified, we have not.



 



The OFAH submitted brief has been endorsed by our affiliates from coast-to-coast. This includes the Yukon Fish and Game Association, Northwest Territories Wildlife Federation, British Columbia Wildlife Federation, Alberta Fish & Game Association, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Manitoba Wildlife Federation, Fédération Québécoise des Chasseurs et Pêcheurs, Prince Edward Island Wildlife Federation, Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Federation. In total, our organizations represent approximately 345,000 Canadians.



The NSFAH supports firearms legislation measures that increase the public safety of Canadians, as long as it doesn’t implement further unnecessary restrictions or barriers on law-abiding firearms users.



The government’s stated intention of Bill C-71 is to prioritize public safety and respond to increasing trends in gun crime and violence, yet it would seem that the majority of the proposals are focused on lawful firearms users.



The government has painted a picture of alarming trends in firearms-related crime and violence to justify the proposed measures and to show action on election platform promises of 2015. Unfortunately, targeting lawful firearms users will not help them achieve their intended goals.



The stats used to support the need for Bill C-71 reference the year 2013, the year that had the lowest criminal homicides in 50 years. The government used that as a baseline to suggest we have a growing problem with firearms in Canada. However, the facts show a long-term decline in firearm-related crime.



This shows how desperate the government is to cater to their non-firearm community  to make up stats to justify bring in C - 71. The minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodall has admitted to such when challenged by news reporters about the stats used.



For decades, the NSFAH has been pushing the federal government to invest in programs and policy that targets illegal firearms and actual criminal activity, rather than policy that has the effect of making criminals out of law-abiding firearms owners.



 



 



Five  parts of Bill C -71



 



What we know,   



And 



What we don’t know



 



1) Enhanced background checks



 



What we know:



This Bill removes the reference or time frame “within the previous five-years” from the act and replaces with “life history”.



Currently there is a high standard to determine eligibility through continuous eligibilityscreening, done daily through the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC) to determine whether a license holder has been the subject of an incident report.



 



What we don’t know:



What process will be used once an individual has been flagged for further examination? Is there a case-by-case review, interview, reference checks, etc.?



Do the proposed changes offer value-added for public safety relative to the current continuous eligibility system?



Is there an appeal system in place?



2) License Verification



What we know:



Anyone selling or “giving” a non-restricted firearm will now have to require proof of a firearms license AND verify the validity of that license with the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).



The registrar will issue a reference number once the license has been confirmed, and is valid for a prescribed period



No information beyond what the CFP already has on file regarding the non-restricted firearm being transferred will be required.



Private sales of non-restricted firearms occur regularly, and outside normal business hours



What we don’t know:



How is ‘giving’ defined within the Bill? Does it include gifting and lending?



What avenues will be available for an individual to verify a license (on the internet, telephone)?



Will these services be available 24/7 – 365 days a year?  If not, why?



Will there be sufficient human and financial resources available to ensure the volume of sales won’t negatively affect “service times”?



How will the CFP use the information provided (about the transaction) and reference number (i.e. what is the primary focus/reasoning for collecting information and providing a reference number)?



3) Record-keeping by Vendors – Part 1



 



What we know:



This applies to ALL businesses (as conditions on their license to sell firearms), and does not apply to private sellers.



All businesses will be required to keep records of the sale of all firearms and their purchasers.



All businesses will be required to record, and for the prescribed period, keep the prescribed information that relates to the business’ possession and disposal of non-restricted firearms.



Businesses, NOT government, will hold these records.



This proposal is intended to provide police services with a tool, or “starting point” in an investigation of a firearm-related crime.



Records will be available to law enforcement with judicial authority, as appropriate.



Businesses will be required to keep records for a period of 20 years from the day in which the business transfer occurred (potentially longer if prescribed)



Information to be kept includes:



Reference number issued by the Registrar;



The day in which the reference number was issued;



The transferee’s license number; and,



The firearm’s make, model and type, and, if any, its serial number.



If it is determined that a business will cease to be a business, all records must be given to a prescribed official (unless otherwise directed by a chief firearms officer).



Back door registry??



 



What we don’t know:



What will the process be for law enforcement and vendors for securing vendor records?



Will all records be available from the vendor or only those of the individual in question?



What safeguards are in place to ensure that ONLY the records of the individual being investigated are released?



What we don’t have is an example of who “prescribed officials” would be in the event a business ceases to exist and must transfer over all of the files they have on record?



4) ATTs – Transportation of restricted and prohibited firearms



What we know:



Discretion for a Chief Firearms Office to authorize transport of restricted and prohibited firearms would be reinstated.



The Only automatic ATTs to remain would be for:



To an owner’s home following the purchase of the firearm; and,



To approved shooting clubs or ranges within the province of residence.



ANY other transportation would require an “additional ATT” from the CFO, including some locations where an automatic ATT is currently permitted:



To a gunsmith;



To cross a border; and,



To a gun show.



What we don’t know:



The current rules are straightforward – if you are found in possession of restricted or prohibited firearms in an unauthorized location, then you are breaking the law!



So how does the removal of the automatic ATT for transportation to a gunsmith, to cross a border or to a gun show, which is currently attached to a fully vetted firearms owner, reduce crime?



What evidence exists that clearly shows the presence of automatic ATTs for transport to these three types of location is a significant issue?



5) Consistent approach to classification – RCMP



What we know:



This bill would remove the ability to allow the Governor in Council (GIC) to downgrade the classification of a firearm, giving sole discretion back to the RCMP.



The CZ and SAN Swiss Arms firearms would now revert back to being prohibited firearms.



Current owners of these firearms would be grandfathered, if they comply with the new regulations (if the individual possessed one or more before June 30, 2018).



Government would permit an amnesty period for owners to comply with grandfathering requirements.



What we don’t know:



How long is the amnesty period being permitted to owners?



Quebec Gun Registry



The Quebec Firearms Registration Act has come into effect. 



What it means to Quebecers is they have to register all of their firearms with the CFO of the province. I believe the logistical challenge is getting all gun owners to comply and playing catch up as far as gun sales since the Federal registry was shut down.



For us, under their provincial law we don’t have to register if you don’t have residence in Quebec.



However, if you stay in that province over 45 days you must register. So a brief hunting trip to Quebec should not be a problem with registration.



 



I don’t know of any discussion to start a NS made gun registry.



 



 



Hand Gun and Assault Weapon Ban



The federal government just did a study on a full ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada.



In a mandate letter to Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set the minister the task of working with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on policy, regulations or legislation on gun control.



He  is also in charge of studying a total prohibition on certain firearms.



That study should be released soon. Information I have is that no ban is planned because of the size of the project and that the government does not have the finances to buy all of those firearms.



 



Thank You for your interest !



Tony Rodgers



Chair, NSFAH Firearms Committee