While Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, over the past several years, rising gun crime has caused too much violence and taken too many lives. By 2016, there were almost 2,500 criminal incidents involving firearms, up by 30%; gun homicides are up by two thirds; and break and enters for the purpose of stealing guns are up by 56%.
That’s why the Government of Canada is making common-sense changes to our firearms law to keep communities safe.
While crime guns used to all be smuggled across the border, that’s no longer true. Police in Toronto, BC, Calgary, Ottawa and elsewhere have said more than half the crime guns they encounter are sourced domestically—often legitimately owned firearms that are stolen or resold to criminals.
Bill C-71 will make five important changes.
To clarify, it is the buyer’s license that is being verified, not the firearm. No information about the firearm is exchanged. Also, store records are private, therefore police would only be given access with reasonable grounds and with judicial authorization. These records will assist police in tracing firearms discovered at a crime scene as well as detect trafficking.
We are also making new investments of $327.6 million over five years, rising to $100 million annually, to support prevention, enforcement and disruption efforts to tackle gun and gang activity. Furthermore, we are strengthening infrastructure and technology at the border to fight gun smuggling.
Although there are many differing opinions on these changes, we believe they advance public safety, assist police investigations and are fair to law-abiding firearms owners and private businesses.
We cannot and we must not accept the gun violence on our streets today as inevitable. It’s time to make our communities safer.
“the legislation will have minimal or no impact on our members who hunt.”Robert SniderPresident of the Moncton Fish and Game Association