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Op-Ed: Liberal Arms Trade Bill Lays Groundwork for New Gun Registry


A few hours before Parliament was to adjourn for Easter, Prime Minister Trudeau slipped new firearms legislation into the House of Commons.

As the Member of Parliament for a large rural riding, I am concerned that Bill C-47 appears to lay the groundwork for a new firearms registry and raises more red flags for responsible gun owners.

At first glance, Bill C-47 seeks to implement the remaining sections of the UN Arms Trade Treaty and contains new clauses to the Export and Imports Permits Act and the Criminal Code.

These clauses require anyone importing or exporting firearms or firearm products to obtain a brokering permit and Conservatives have always supported efforts to establish international standards for arms transfers that help prevent illicit transfers that fuel conflict, encourage terrorism or organized crime.

However, Bill C-47 also requires all documentation related to the acquisition of an import permit, certificate, or allocation be retained for a period of six years, with there is no clarification on the full extent of documentation required. The Liberals could use Bill C-47 to require documentation of end-user and consumer data.

Here’s what I do know. This Bill will increase costs and red tape for businesses that import firearms and firearm products. When combined with the planned UN Marking Regulations, these increased costs will be passed on to the consumer. Hunting, sport shooting, and gun collecting will be more expensive and businesses will face another layer of bureaucracy. That’s not fair for responsible firearms owners.

Conservatives have expressed disappointment that the Liberals are moving forward with an Arms Trade Treaty that does not respect or recognize the legitimate trade or use of hunting and sporting firearms.

I will continue to voice the legitimate concerns of lawful firearm owners and demand that the Liberals consult firearm owners before unilaterally changing the law and imposing regulations.

I have also jointly seconded Bill C-346, introduced by my colleague, MP Bob Zimmer which amends the Firearms Act so that no law-abiding firearms owner would be criminalized for an expired firearms license.

For too long responsible, law-abiding firearms owners in Canada have been treated like criminals. The wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry was eliminated by our Conservative government in 2012 and we will continue to support ownership of firearms by responsible citizens for their personal and recreational use.