An expanded amnesty for owners of recently prohibited semi-automatic rifles and new firearms licence legislation being proposed by the federal government is welcome news for Yorkton Melville MP Garry Breitkreuz.
“This Conservative government will always stand up for the rights of law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters,” said Breitkreuz. “Hunting and sport shooting remain important outdoor heritage activities in this country.”
Breitkreuz has long been an advocate for loosening restrictions on gun owners fighting the long battle to dismantle the long-gun registry and founding a chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Outdoors Caucus.
The RCMP caused a great stir with gun enthusiasts in February when it put the Swiss Arms “classic green” and the CZ-858s, a Czech-made semi-automatic rifle, on the prohibited list. The government quickly reacted passing legislation in March to extend the legality of the weapons until 2016.
As the Order Declaring an Amnesty (2014) came into effect last week, Steven Blaney, the public safety minister announced plans to table legislation named the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.
Breitkreuz said in a press release that the new law will: “merge the Possession Only Licence (POL) and the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL); restrict the ability of chief firearms officers to make arbitrary decisions; create a grace period so that individuals who inadvertently miss renewing their firearms licence are not made into criminals for paper work infractions; make Authorizations to Transport a condition of a licence; require mandatory firearms safety courses for first-time gun owners; and strengthen firearms prohibitions for those convicted of domestic violence offences.”
“I am very pleased to be working with Minister Blaney on these important firearms issues,” Breitkreuz said. “Like me, he believes that owning a firearm is a right, but a right that comes with responsibilities. The measures outlined here are a good step in the right direction.”
Of course not everyone believes the Conservative approach is common sense.
“Extensive research as well as common sense suggests that making it easier for people to get guns carries with it a huge price,” said Wendy Cukier, president of the Gun Control Coalition. “Canada is one of the few countries in the world that is moving backwards, weakening its controls on firearms while other countries are strengthening controls to reduce the risk dangerous people will get access to guns.”