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441-00084 (Justice)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament Assembled

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RESIDENTS OF CANADA, draw the attention of the House to the following:

Whereas:

  • Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, does nothing to tackle firearms violence, but rather adds further red-tape on law abiding firearms owners;
  • This legislation brings back the useless and ineffective long-gun registry; and
  • This legislation does not provide the resources to frontline police forces to tackle the true source of firearms violence: gangs and organized criminal enterprises.

We, the undersigned, Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to repeal Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, and to instead devote greater resources to policing in Canada.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Pam Damoff

In cities across Canada, firearms violence is on the rise. Addressing the devastating effects of gun and gang violence is a priority shared by all Canadians and while Conservative members of Parliament have made many promises to the gun lobby to weaken gun control in Canada, our government remains committed to strengthening gun control.

 

Our Government passed former Bill C-71 to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and to help trace firearms used in crimes. We moved quickly but carefully to implement C-71 in a way that was fair and transparent to firearms owners and  businesses. We consulted on proposed regulations, and we made certain the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had the tools needed to implement the regulations effectively.

 

On July 7, 2021, our Government brought into force expanded background checks for licence applications to cover the entire lifetime of an applicant’s history, and the Chief Firearms Officer must now consider whether the applicant has a history of harassment or restraining orders, or poses a danger to any other person. These changes are preventing people with a history of violence from owning a firearm.

 

Also on July 7, 2021, our Government restored limits on the transportation of restricted and prohibited firearms within our communities. Individuals must now seek a Chief Firearms Officer’s discretionary authorization to transport these firearms to all places other than a shooting range or home after purchase.

 

Our Government is committed to completing the implementation of former Bill C-71. The regulations on licence verification will protect public safety by reducing the risk of non-restricted firearms being sold or given to anyone that does not possess a valid firearms licence. The Chief Coroner of Ontario specifically requested this change after improper transfers resulted in fatal consequences.

The regulations would also require businesses to keep sales and inventory records on non-restricted firearms for at least 20 years. Firearms businesses would hold the records. No information on a non-restricted firearm being transferred would be provided to the Registrar of Firearms; our Government has pledged to not bring back the long-gun registry. Law enforcement would need to have a valid purpose and authorization in order to access the records — such as a judicial production order — for example, to trace a crime gun, or investigate domestic trafficking or straw purchasing.

 

Bill C-71 and its regulations are critical to public safety. But, more is needed. On May 1, 2020, our Government took a bold step by banning over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms. These firearms are designed specifically to kill as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. They have been used in mass shootings in Nova Scotia, Québec City, and Montréal. They have no place in our society. These prohibited firearms can no longer be legally used, sold, or imported. Our Government will take further action to remove these guns from our communities, by making it mandatory for owners to deactivate or surrender these firearms. They pose a risk to the public’s safety that outweighs their continued availability within Canada.

 

All levels of government have a role to play. Our Government is ready to support provinces and communities in taking action to control handguns. We will also provide $250M directly to municipalities and Indigenous communities to support community-based anti-gang programming.

 

Our Government has also made significant investments at our borders — to stop illegal firearms from entering Canada— and in policing — to target trafficking within Canada, and diversion from the legal market through domestic straw purchasing and theft. We invested $125M for the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to enhance firearms investigations and strengthen controls at the border, which resulted in a record number of arrests and firearms seizures at the border in 2021. These investments are part of a larger investment of $358.8M over five years for provinces and territories and enforcement agencies to address firearms and gang violence.

 

Our Government is investing an additional $312M over five years — beginning this year — to better identify, disrupt and prevent firearms from entering the illicit market. We are investing $15M to increase the RCMP’s capacity to trace firearms and $40.3M for anti-smuggling activities, which includes building a national system that allows for the flagging of bulk purchases of firearms. We are also investing $21.6M for the CBSA to enhance its x-ray equipment to detect firearms at land and marine ports and to enable intelligence sharing. These investments will benefit law enforcement agencies across Canada by enabling RCMP and CBSA collaboration with police services to prevent illicit access to firearms through increased investigations and enforcement.

 

Our Government has clearly taken bold action to address firearms and gang violence, and we are committed to doing more. 

Presented to the House of Commons
Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock)
December 15, 2021 (Petition No. 441-00084)
Government response tabled
January 31, 2022
Photo - Arnold Viersen
Peace River—Westlock
Conservative Caucus
Alberta

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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