North

Yukon MP in favour of bill to tighten Canada's firearms rules

Bill C-71, tabled this month in the House of Commons, would enhance background checks, vendor record-keeping and implement new transportation regulations around firearms.

Enhancing background checks, record-keeping is 'common sense,' says head of Yukon Fish and Game Association

New proposed gun legislation would make it harder to buy firearms in Canada. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Some Yukoners say a federal bill that would tighten firearms laws in Canada is fair to gun owners.

Bill C-71, tabled this month in the House of Commons, would enhance background checks, vendor record-keeping and implement new transportation regulations around firearms.

"The things that they are proposing ... only make common sense," said Gord Zealand, executive director of the Yukon Fish and Game Association.

Currently, when a person registers for a firearms licence, RCMP check the last five years of the person's history to see whether they've committed a violent offence, for example, or been treated for a mental illness. The new bill would require those checks on a person's entire life history.

A person granted a firearms license would then face ongoing checks that would happen through daily searches of police and court databases, in order to remain eligible to carry that firearms license.

The bill also puts pressure on firearms vendors to keep more intensive records.

"I'm happy that's what the emphasis is — not on your normal, everyday hunter, like we have in the Yukon," said Larry Bagnell, MP for Yukon.

Bagnell lost the the 2011 election after he voted with the Liberal Party to keep the long-gun registry, a policy many Yukoners wanted the government to scrap.

However, Zealand is cautious about some aspects of the bill that would require more licensing to transport certain firearms to other areas besides a shooting club or range.

"There is nothing additional that wouldn't make sense to most of us," said Zealand.

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