Campaign #8a - (Committee) Prohibition
C-71 is in its committee phase where the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) review the details of the bill and possibly make changes. Letters need to be short and to the point, which is difficult to do when addressing the specifics of a bill. Campaign 8a focuses on the parts of the bill that deal with prohibiting firearms. Due to the nature of committee, campaign 8a is primarily focused on the technical failings of the relevant sections. Regardless, the goal is to get committee to scrap them. Other parts of the bill will be covered in later campaigns. As always, do your best to make this email your own and to personalize it. That includes modifying the generated subject line as well.
Dear SECU committee members:
I am concerned about bill C-71. Section 12(9) of bill C-71 is vague and leaves many unanswered questions. It allows for individuals to be grandfathered to "possess prohibited firearms of a prescribed class". How are firearms added to such a prescribed class? What is the criteria, and by what legislative authority? When firearms are prohibited under 12(9) will their owners be notified? Why are they not notified under the current system? Why do firearm owners not have access to the RCMP's FRT so the public can see when decisions are made? Can firearm owners appeal classification decisions? If so, how?
The bill revokes the powers of the Governing Council to declare a firearm to be non-restricted. The Public Safety Minister stated both to the media and in the House of Commons this was so classification of firearms would be solely in the hands of RCMP who would follow the Firearms Act. However the bill leaves the powers of the Governing Council to declare a firearm to be restricted or prohibited intact. Clearly it does not put classification solely in the hands of the RCMP. Why? The RCMP have a history of incorrect firearm classification. Why is the ability of government to correct such mistakes being removed? If the RCMP are experts and infallible then should not the powers of the Governing Council to declare a firearm as restricted or prohibited also be removed?
Section 12(10)/12(11) prohibits certain CZ rifles. The RCMP originally classified these rifles as non-restricted (or restricted if short barrelled) and then later as prohibited "converted auto". It was a gross abuse of the definition of a converted auto considering no fully automatic rifles were converted to semi-automatic. Either way, clearly the RCMP made a classification mistake.
With 12(10)/12(11), once again thousands of people will have their property they purchased as non-restricted firearms confiscated without compensation. They will not be able to hunt or use their firearms on crown land. They will not be able to sell them to others without 12(9) on their license. As evidenced by previous 12(x) firearms classes, the value of these firearms will go down substantially over time. Usage will eventually be curtailed, and when the day comes that a 12(9) owner passes away, their firearm cannot be passed on to family. Confiscated without compensation.
Section 12(13)/12(14) are very similar to 12(10)/12(11) and prohibit certain Swiss Arms rifles. The RCMP originally classified these rifles as non-restricted (or restricted if short barrelled) and then later as a prohibited 12(5) variant. As with 12(10)/12(11) this section is also confiscation without compensation.
These sections of the C-71 affect an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 Canadians who purchased their rifles under their non-restricted and restricted classifications in good faith. It punishes them despite no crime being committed. They have no mechanism for appeal. Should future gun owners find themselves in a similar situation, and RCMP history shows us they will, the government will have neutered their ability to fix it, instead only offering confiscation without compensation.
Where is the public safety benefit? These rifles have existed in Canada in large quantities for well over a decade, posing no public safety threat. If C-71 passes with these sections intact, there will still be 12,000 to 15,000 rifles in the hands of licensed gun owners. How is the public served by this? How does limiting ownership to existing owners and limiting usage to a range while at the same time reducing the value of lawfully purchased property improve public safety? When you consider that there are other manufacturers (one in Canada) that produce licensed versions of the CZ rifles that are non-restricted and will remain non-restricted if C-71 passes, it borders on the satirically hilarious if not for the monetary value of the non-existent compensation, an estimated $16 million dollars. Let me repeat that. The sum value of these rifles being confiscated without compensation is an estimated $16 million dollars. Sales tax was collected on that $16 million dollars.
Do any of bill C-71's amendments to section 12 of the Firearms Act make sense or improve public safety? I think not.
Cc: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Office of the Prime Minister of Canada
Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety
Hon. John McKay, M.P., House of Commons
Julie Dabrusin, M.P., House of Commons
Pam Damoff, M.P., House of Commons
Peter Fragiskatos, M.P., House of Commons
Michel Picard, M.P., House of Commons
Sven Spengemann, M.P., House of Commons
Mark Holland, M.P., House of Commons
Pierre Paul-Hus, M.P., House of Commons
Blaine Calkins, M.P., House of Commons
Glen Motz, M.P., House of Commons
Matthew Dubé, M.P., House of Commons
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