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Senate Committee on Bill C-71 – Witness Testimony Day Two

A heartfelt ‘thank you” to the following members of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (SECD) for understanding Bill C-71 completely misses its intended target.
 
Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu: “Are we attacking the real problem?” He is concerned Bill C-71’s focus will increase the burden on already overloaded police and mental health resources.
 
Senator Jean-Guy Dagenais: “When we say C-71 will stop gangs from committing murder on the streets of Toronto, in fact, perhaps, C-71 won’t change anything.”
 
Senator Tony Dean: “Like some other Senators, I own and use firearms. I’ve been in your stores and I know you take [ensuring purchasers have valid licences] really seriously. I’ve had to wait, come back a couple days later to wait for my PAL to be verified because of the kind of delays you talk about. Nothing was taken on trust.”
 
Senator David Richards: “I don’t see how this legislation, Bill C-71, is going to help in the broader scheme of things when there’s still poverty, bigotry, gender violence and hatred. The real systematic causes [of violence] cannot be addressed by this legislation.”
 
Senator Don Plett: “Sitting through our second full day of Senate committee hearings on Bill C-71 today. Still no evidence that this Bill will increase public safety.”
 
We thank the following individuals and organizations for standing up on behalf of all Canadian firearm owners.
 
Dave Partanen (Silverdale Gun Club): “This is a matter of social and moral decay. We need to look at those factors.”
 
Marty Kerluck, owner of Toronto Firearm Safety Services: “We don’t shoot weapons. We don’t have weapons. We have firearms. We don’t shoot people. We shoot targets.”
 
Wes Winkel, President of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA), recommended Bill C-71 be amended to contain an appeal process for RCMP firearm classifications and reclassifications. He also recommended the government appoint a member from the CSAAA to the Minister’s Firearms Advisory Committee so the interests and needs of small businesses will be considered.
 
Senator André Pratte was in favour of these “pragmatic suggestions” and suggested that including the industry when drafting regulation for Bill C-71 made sense. “That’s certainly a very good idea and I think the committee would have no hesitation at suggesting that to the government.” 
 
Alison de Groot, Director (CSAAA): “When we spoke to the Minister’s policy staff to say, can you please say what compliance for a retailer looks like under Bill C-71, they said to us, ‘We thought they would just do it.’ That’s not enough for us to operate our industry on.”
 
“Businesses must be able to prove compliance. There is no thought on how it can be done by government.”
 
de Groot correctly pointed out Bill C-71 turns the RCMP into the de facto regulator of the firearm industry in Canada, with carte blanche over firearms – but with no oversight or no appeal process. Canadian businesses cannot function in this environment.
 
Dr. Caillin Langmann, an independent firearm researcher, showed that while the number of licensed firearm owners continues to rise in Canada, there is no corresponding rise in the rate of suicides by firearm. This rate continues to trend downward, as it has for the past 3 decades. Suicide by hanging rose dramatically over that same timespan, but nobody wants to talk about banning rope.
 
“We need to put more resources into mental health. When I tell someone I can’t get them help for 3 months, it makes their situation worse. We need to get people who need help the mental health assistance they require.”
 
Langmann also said the evidence suggests diverting youth from entering gangs and their inevitable life of violence is a large part of how we can prevent violent crime in Canada.
 
Dr. Gary Mauser: “Not only have handguns remained the murder weapon of choice, but gang killings have increased. Gun bans, by the evidence, do not seem very useful.”
 
Handguns remain the murder weapon of choice, gangs overwhelmingly use handguns, despite government banning over 50% of all handguns in the 1990s. The problem is criminal violence, not guns. Bureaucratic busywork will not solve the real problems facing youth in our cities.
 
Dr. Mauser also pointed out that moose, yes, those tasty critters with massive antlers, kill more people every year than licensed firearm owners.
 
Panelists opposed to our culture and way of life were not interested in addressing the contents of Bill C-71. They’re interested in talking about the steps they want taken after this bill is passed.
 
When asked if any measure in Bill C-71 could prevent gang crime, panelists ignored the question and talked about the need to “ban handguns and assault-style weapons” instead.
 
Bill C-71 is not about banning handguns.
 
The focus of this Senate committee is Bill C-71.
 
They went for shock and awe but presented no evidence to back up their emotional pleas.
 
Nathalie Provost: “We are all more in danger today than we were in 1989.”
 
Really? Where is the evidence?
 
Dr. Natasha Saunders: “We can’t normalize gun ownership.”
 
With over 2.1 million licensed gun owners and millions more participating in hunting and target shooting each year, gun ownership is already “normal” in Canadian society.
 
When she said, “A survey shows 50% of gun owners don’t store their guns safely,” she was immediately mocked on Twitter with the hashtag #ShowMeTheEvidence because she provided none.
 
Heidi Rathjen, long-time opponent of civilian firearm ownership, highlighted one important fact we can all agree on.
 
The Trudeau government cut funding to the RCMP Crime Lab, severely limiting its ability to trace firearms used by people with bad intentions.
 
How does that decision enhance public safety?

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