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Open letter to members of the firearms community by Steven Blaney

By Steven Blaney, Conservative Leadership Candidate, January 2017

As Public Safety Minister in the Harper government, I got thousands of letters from law abiding citizens asking to be treated with dignity, and not like criminals just because they liked hunting or sport shooting which are traditional and cultural activities in Canada.

It is no wonder you were still are treated with disdain, like second class Canadians, by Liberals. Liberals clearly outlined their vision with Liberal Justice Minister Allan Rock saying : “I came to Ottawa with the firm belief that the only people in this country who should have guns are police officers and soldiers.”

I disagreed very strongly with that view then and I still do now.

That’s why I introduced and passed the ” Common Sense Firearm Licensing Act (C-42)” with the help of great conservative parliamentarians like MP’s Garry Breitkreuz from Saskatchewan or Robert “Bob” Sopuck from Manitoba in June 2015. the Bill:

Provided for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers (CFOs) to be subject to the regulations;

Provided the Governor in Council with the authority to prescribe firearms to be non-restricted or restricted (such prescribing would be informed by independent expert advice).

Created a six-month grace period at the end of the five-year licence period to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork delays around license renewals;

Eliminated of the Possession Only Licence (POL) and converted of all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licences (PALs);

Authorizations to Transport were merged with the licence for certain routine and lawful activities such as target shooting; taking a firearm home after a transfer; going to a gunsmith, gun show, a Canadian port of exit; or a peace officer or a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) for verification, registration or disposal.

I am very proud of those real accomplishments and yet, along with abolishing the ineffective and long gun registry, I championed the only major change brought forward to cut red tape for gun owners. . However, we are not done yet. We need to further fix the Liberals’ wrongdoings without compromising safety. And that’s why I introduced in this leadership race my “Respect for gun owners Reform.”

With the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities of Gun Owners, I will reaffirm the rights of law abiding gun owners and create appoint an ombudsman to protect their rights, I will also streamline the complicated and biased firearm classification system. Instead of having the RCMP manage it, I will transfer responsibility of the Canadian Firearm Program directly to The Ministry of Public Safety, where it should have always been.

I want to restore the service standards I put in place that the Liberals just abolished a few months ago for the new firearms evaluation process. I want to avoid bureaucrats dragging their feet to promote a hidden agenda. I want to avoid erratic decisions like the Swiss arms nightmare by putting a credible review process in place. The new classification system will avoid the stupidity we just witnessed with the new version of the CS-858 being declared prohibited.

And yes, I will restore the precious Firearm Advisory Committee, which was scrapped by the Liberals. The help of folks like Tony Bernardo has been invaluable. I am very grateful for the dedication of all members and and appreciate them sharing their knowledge with me. Greg Farrant, as chair of the committee, led a team of great people and we were able to achieve a lot in a small period of time.

The goal is clear, to keep our country safe and keep illegal guns out of our streets without strangling law abiding citizens with tons of worthless red tape.

I did it and will keep doing it because it is the right thing to do.

It’s time to restore sanity in Ottawa. With the Conservative Party of Canada and your personal involvement, we can achieve this. You can have a say by acquiring a membership card, voting and standing up for your rights.

I am ready to embark on that journey with you.
Respectfully,

Steven Blaney

The Honorable Steven Blaney is former Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister and leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada. He is currently Member of Parliament for Bellechasse, Les Etchemins and Lévis.

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