MAY 8, 2019 UPDATE
Since Bill C-71 was introduced in March, 2018, OFAH efforts have included
- Lobbying MPs and Senators on Parliament Hill
- Critically analysing Bill C-71 and
- Providing recommendations to improve the Bill for law-abiding firearms owners
- Testifying in front of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
- Testifying in front of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security & Defence
- Surveying firearms owners to get their reaction, concerns and suggestions on Bill C-71 (over 3500 responded)
- Coordinating united support from other provinces and territories
- Keeping firearms owners informed of Bill C-71 progress
- Giving presentations to various OFAH club and Zone groups
Despite influencing positive change to Bill C-71 with these efforts, the Senate has voted against any of these changes. A federal election is coming. Firearms policy is a clear priority for the OFAH and we intend to see where the political parties stand so that our supporters can vote accordingly.
APRIL 8, 2019 UPDATE
Senators on the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence (SECD) introduced and ratified some significant amendments to firearms Bill C-71, including more focused background checks, the repeal of provisions removing automatic ATTs, parliamentary reporting on the impacts of classification decisions, and repealing provisions to remove political oversight of classification decisions. Although Bill C-71 remains fundamentally flawed, even with these amendments, the SECD recommendations represent the first time in more than a year of debate that there has been any ground gained by the firearms community.
The amendments must still make it through the Senate and the House of Commons (again) – but at least it is a sign that the logic and reason of the firearms community’s tenacious advocacy is finally beginning to sink in.
APRIL 1, 2019 UPDATE
The OFAH testified in front of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence on firearms Bill C-71.
The OFAH will continue work on behalf of the firearms community. Stay tuned for more updates.
BILL C-71: AN ACT TO AMEND CERTAIN ACTS AND REGULATIONS IN RELATION TO FIREARMS
The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security has finished studying Bill C-71. The OFAH went to Parliament Hill on May 30, 2018 to provide testimony to the committee (see below). The Committee’s report on Bill C-71 was presented in the House of Commons on June 12, 2018 and briefly debated (time allocation for debate was restricted). The report recommended only a few amendments, none which addressed the important issues raised by the OFAH during our testimony on the bill. The lack of recognition for legitimate concerns from the firearms community is disappointing, but we are not finished trying to get some significant changes to the proposed legislation.
The Bill passed third reading in the House of Commons and is now at the Senate. It has gone through debate and been referred to the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. The OFAH has requested to appear before this committee in 2019.
In recent months, OFAH staff has been working to inform Senators of the OFAH position on Bill C-71 and the overall concerns of the firearms community. We will continue our advocacy on Parliament Hill to try to get some traction on meaningful changes to Bill C-71.
- OFAH Podcast on Bill C-71
- Our Brief Submission to the Standing Committee
- Testimony to Standing Committee
- Survey Results
OFAH staff discuss the next steps with federal firearms legislation, Bill C-71.
- CLICK HERE to read OFAH brief submission to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
- CLICK HERE for text of OFAH TESTIMONY to Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
CLICK HERE to download survey results
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The government’s stated intention of Bill C-71 is to prioritize public safety and respond to increasing trends in gun crime and violence, yet it would seem that the majority of the proposals are focused on lawful firearms users. The government is painting a picture of alarming trends in firearms-related crime and violence to justify the proposed measures and to show action on election platform promises of 2015. Unfortunately, targeting lawful firearms users will not help them achieve their intended goals.
The stats being used to support the need for Bill C-71 reference 2013 (lowest criminal homicides in 50 years) as a baseline to suggest we have a growing problem with firearms in Canada. However, the facts show a long-term decline in firearm-related crime.
Bill C-71 Backgrounder
Published March 26, 2018
Read our critical analysis of the “main” aspects of the Bill
What Can You Do?
You can respectfully contact the Minister of Public Safety and Your Local MP
The Hon. Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P.
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
KEY POINTS TO BILL C-71:
- This bill directly affects ALL firearms users, in one way or another. The answers to our outstanding questions (coming soon) will determine the extent.
- As stated by the federal government Bill C-71 is intended to:
- Prioritize public safety by keeping firearms out of the wrong hands;
- Strengthen measures for firearms safety and give police tools to ensure public safety and help solve firearms-related crimes; and,
- Respect law-abiding firearms owners
- Bill C-71 appears to do little to improve public safety as is Instead it appears to put further, unnecessary restrictions and burdens on Canada’s most vetted population
- The OFAH fully recognizes that Bill C-71 will be defined by the finer details and policy mechanisms required to implement the five key themes highlighted in Bill C-71:
- Enhanced background checks
- Licence Verification
- Record-keeping by vendors
- Classification or Re-Classification — RCMP
- The contents of Bill C-71 proposes the remaining aspects of the 2015 Liberal Party’s platform related to firearms. The OFAH provided initial comments to the government in anticipation of these proposed changes, and worked with them in an attempt to ensure they fully understand how changes in policy will affect lawful firearms owners in Canada
- The government has stated it will NOT bring back another long gun registry, but…
- What’s the deal with the Quebec Long Gun Registry files? Bill C-71 says all files will be given to the Quebec Minister upon request. Canadians have been previously told these records no longer exist. Apparently they do. The government needs to address this issue
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