MP Report — Weakening Firearms Legislation

Since their election in 2015, the Liberals have consistently gone out of their way to reverse, repeal, or weaken legislation that was passed while Conservatives were in government. While “out with the old, in with the new” may seem a good idea to the Liberals, their approach to justice legislation has created some serious consequences for law-abiding Canadians while doing nothing to prevent or deter criminals.

Bill C-75, passed in the last Parliament, reduced sentences for offenses such as administering the date rape drug, theft, possession of explosives, impaired driving causing bodily harm, forced marriage, child abduction and gang activity. This legislation did nothing to address, prevent or reduce crime, but made the revolving door of Canada’s justice system spin a little faster and put criminals back on the street to reoffend.

Then, in response to increasing gang violence in some of Canada’s largest cities, the Liberals banned approximately 1500 types of firearms through an Order in Council. Trudeau referred to them as “assault-style” firearms, a made-up term designed for maximum emotional impact. A move which sought to penalize law-abiding firearms owners who are already the most heavily scrutinized people in Canada and created economic uncertainty for related businesses and the people they employ.

Now the Liberals have tabled two new bills. One that will create the “buy-back” program for their draconian gun ban, while creating a regulatory quagmire for law-abiding firearms owners (C-21). The other will get rid of mandatory minimum sentences for criminals who use firearms during the commission of many crimes (C-22). Many of these minimums were in fact put in place by previous Liberal governments.

Of note, C-21 provides for “red flag” and “yellow flag” laws. The red flag law is a red herring that allows people to bypass the police and apply directly to a judge to remove firearms from an individual without notice and based only on information provided by the complainant. If people have concerns about the potentially dangerous use of a firearm, their first call should always be to the police.

C-21 also creates a de facto gun registry by requiring all newly prohibited guns to be registered with the government. These are the same guns that under this bill can only be stored and not used, essentially rendering them useless and without value for collectors and sports enthusiasts alike.

The legislation also prohibits the import, export and sale of non-regulated air guns that look like modern firearms – pellet guns, paintball guns and Airsoft guns. Instead of working to combat gun violence by organized crime, the Liberals have chosen to criminalize toys and ruin a pastime enjoyed by tens of thousands of Canadians across the country. This will close businesses across Canada and put thousands of Canadians out of work for no tangible improvement to public safety. There is already a law that addresses the use of a replica firearm in the commission of an offense, now, just having/owning one is an offense.

While Bill C-21 will do nothing to reduce crime, Bill C-22 will ensure that those who are caught using firearms illegally or in the commission of a crime will spend less time in jail. With this bill, the Liberal will repeal several sections of the Criminal Code, eliminating mandatory prison time for criminals who commit offences like robbery with a firearm, traffic weapons, possess a weapon obtained by committing an offence and participate in drive-by shootings.

The Liberal’s approach to reducing crime and gang violence simply makes no sense. The only thing that’s clear is that Liberals are more interested in standing for criminals than defending law-abiding citizens and our communities.