Firearms: Respecting Legal Firearms Owners and Targeting Criminals
The legal use of firearms has always been part of Canadian tradition and culture. Today, there are over 2 million hunters, ranchers, trappers, farmers, target shooters, recreational shooters and collectors who legally possess firearms in our country.
However, despite this group being exceptionally law abiding and the most highly vetted segment in the Canadian population, the existing firearms legislation unfairly targets them, does not respect their property rights, and is highly arbitrary.
In 1995, Bill C-68 created the Firearms Act, the strictest gun-control legislation in Canadian history. Its most controversial feature, the creation of a long-gun registry, was repealed in 2012.
The Act continues to classify firearms into different categories for reasons which frequently have nothing to do with their function. Firearms can also be assigned new classifications at the whim of a bureaucrat. What is legal one day can become illegal the next.
Under the licensing system of the Act, the ownership of firearms has become a privilege that can be revoked or altered at any moment. Legal gun owners can lose their property and even have their life ruined by being criminally charged through their inaction (by not keeping their paperwork up to date) or due to the moving goalposts of Canadian firearms law.
Canada’s firearms legislation must protect society from the criminal misuse of firearms and prioritize the deterrence and punishment of criminals.
Legal firearms owners deserve a legal framework that protects their property rights and treats them with fairness and respect. We need a common-sense approach to gun control that promotes safety while removing the threat of arbitrary criminal prosecution.
A People’s Party government will:
- Replace the Firearms Act and supporting legislation with new legislation that will prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime in Canada.
- Replace the costly and burdensome licensing system with an efficient lifetime certification system for firearms owners following mandatory vetting, safety training and testing. To avoid criminalizing legal gun owners and guarantee their property rights, this system will legalize simple possession of firearms for certified Canadians as long as they use their firearms lawfully and don’t commit some other crime which would disqualify them from firearms ownership.
- Require that all firearms categories be based on function, not on looks or arbitrary political whims, and remove ineffective restrictions which unfairly target sport shooters, but have no deterrent effect on criminals.
- Mandate that all future changes to firearms regulation be completed through Parliament only. This means that neither the RCMP nor cabinet will be able to move the legal goalposts for legal firearms owners without the approval of Parliament.