Ottawa's new firearms law unfairly targets gun owners, some Islanders say
'This new legislation does little or nothing to tackle the issue of illegal firearms'
Some Island gun owners are concerned about Ottawa's proposed changes to Canada's gun laws, writing to MPs and Senators to express their concerns.
Since Bill C-71 was introduced in March, gun owners across the country have expressed reservations about the possible changes. Many feel the bill presses further restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, rather than deal with criminal gun and gang activities — the latter of which is a major reason the federal government introduced the bill.
- 'Leave it the way it is': Gun owners want firearms law left alone
- Liberals propose tightening Canada's firearms law with new record-keeping practices
Some of the proposed changes include requiring gun retailers to retain records of firearms inventory and sales for at least two decades, as well as extend background checks that now go back five years (that look for violent or criminal offences) to cover any offences made over an applicant's lifetime.
The majority of the amendments within C-71 would only be noticeable to those who sell guns, rather than individual firearms owners.— Sean Casey
Dave Hanson, the president of the P.E.I. Rifle Association, said the proposed changes in the bill "does nothing to protect Canadians" against criminals in Canada.
"This new legislation does little or nothing to tackle the issue of illegal firearms used by criminals," he said in an interview.
"It does, however, target Canada's most vetted citizens who are subject to criminal background checks on a daily basis … I guess it just comes down to how far back do you need to go? Five years is a long time, arguably, and it should perhaps be adequate to vet individuals."
Casey says changes affect sellers, not owners
Hanson was one of a few Islanders who wrote to government representatives from Prince Edward Island. One of the responses he got was from Charlottetown MP Sean Casey.
- How America's gun laws compare to Canada's
- Alberta teen launches petition against gun control legislation
"It is simply our goal with the current bill to prioritize public safety by keeping firearms out of the wrong hands, without causing any unreasonable or undue stress on legal firearms owners," Casey wrote to Hanson.
"To this end, the majority of the amendments within C-71 would only be noticeable to those who sell guns, rather than individual firearms owners."
Casey continued, saying that the proposed amendments in the bill aren't targeting "legal and law abiding gun owners" but would rather mend "existing loopholes within the current firearms framework."