As many of you know – the Conservative Party of Canada (Parti conservateur du Canada) is slated to select its next leader on May 27th, 2017. Currently there are twelve candidates vying for this incredibly important position as not only leader of the CPC, but leader of the Official Opposition in Ottawa. We decided reach out to every single candidate to see where they stood on issues that were important to the millions of Canadian firearms owners.
Brad Trost; Conservative Party of Canada Member of the Canadian House of Commons since 2004 Saskatoon-University
Are you willing to completely redo the current firearms legislation currently operating in Canada?
Yes. I will completely repeal what is left from Bill C-68. Further to that, I would;
- Convert all PAL’s/RPAL’s to a FAC system.
- The new FAC system would include comprehensive, Canada wide, authorizations to transport. If you can get FAC you should be allowed to transport your guns.
- Move to a prohibited list of persons as an added feature. Essentially, if you are a criminal and you have issues you would be on that list. Those would be the people that would need to report what they are doing or where they are transporting their firearms. Let the rest of the lawful Canadian gun owners live their lives.
- For off duty police officers, legislation would include the relaxing of authorization to carry procedures. If you fully trust a member of the RCMP or any other law enforcement institution, you should relax legislation’s around carrying their off duty sidearms. It is a good justice policy; leave it to the judgment of the members and their professional training. A police officer does not stop being a police officer just because he/she is off the clock.
- Allow licensed gun owners of prohibited firearms to take them to federally approved ranges. The people that own these firearms legally, that have their licensing and so forth, they are some of the most responsible people, they know the liability and legal issues involved, let them use their firearms.
- For the municipalities that do not wish to destroy potentially seized or surrendered firearms; they would be able to sell them to licensed individuals.
Including the complete repeal of C-68, these represent six additional ideas that have been brought forth to me, I believe all seven ideas are good – I have signed off on them. They would represent the basic core of firearms legislation under a Brad Trost government.
Can you address your thoughts on the extreme lack of protective property rights in Canada?
Look, when the RCMP enters your home there always needs to be cause. They need to show cause, and ultimately – before or after – known as exigent circumstances, the judge should have to sign off somewhere and somehow. Remember, I own a .270 savage – I do not want someone to accuse me of something randomly, it is just a general principle.
Should the RCMP continue to be the body in charge of firearms legislation and regulation?
No. The power to legislate laws should not be given to any particular body who has not been elected.The buck should always stop with elected officials. We, as elected officials, can delegate our authorities. Ultimately, we are directly accountable to the people. The minister responsible should be required to sign off, because he/she is an elected official that is directly accountable to the people. The RCMP can make recommendations. At the end of the day it should be the cabinet minister who signs off, after giving due public notice and after due public consultation.
Will you commit to removing sounds suppressors from the prohibited items list?
Yes. It would make sense to do so. Particularly for hunting and target shooting – why wouldn’t you? I understand the police may want something (regulation) for handguns, but rather than having a blanket prohibition, there has to be some way we can loosen this up so people can use it for hunting. I would be supportive in my legislation so people can use suppressors for legitimate uses.Having said that, if you are a criminal using a handgun already, what difference does it make if you toss on a suppressor? Any which way you are going to break the law. It is the old line that laws are not made for criminals; they are designed for honest people and to keep small children out of things.
Do you believe that AR-15 rifles should remain restricted?
No. Classifications need to be solely based on function. The problem has been that some in the RCMP have started to do stuff based on looks. This is just silly. What is classified as non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited needs to be based on clear, unambiguous criterion that is not at all based on how something looks. It needs to be based on performance and ability, things of that nature. If an AR-15 operates and functions in the same ways as the variants that are non-restricted then you classify it as non-restricted. It is how it functions that matters, not how it looks. That is the problem that we have been getting into, where we classify it not on how it functions. So no, I do not think the AR-15 should remain restricted.
Firearms are constantly referred to as weapons – how do we change this negative mentality?
Only one way currently exists: familiarizing the public with hunting culture, firearms culture, and sport shooting culture. Look, I am a Saskatchewan farm kid, my background and my culture – firearms are a part of life. What do you use your .270 for? It is used to go out there and get a whitetail. This is not a government thing; the only way is to work it. A lot of people have completely lost touch with many aspects of rural life. It does not matter if it is a sport shooting association or a wildlife organisation, you need to go out there and do it. It is a public service, it helps people understand the real world, it makes them better citizens, its healthy, and it’s positive for the environment. Those connotations and images – once they get into public consciousness, they are positive. So this is not something governments should do, this is something the firearms community needs to do and not be shy about it especially with young people. Give them an opportunity to see how important our culture is and how useful this stuff is.
Would you ensure that no further non-restricted/restricted firearms would be moved to the prohibited class?
Yes. We are not going to be making non restricted firearms restricted, nor making restricted firearms prohibited. Once a firearm has been gazetted for classification there would be a set period of time – like 60 or 90 days, a period of “comment” essentially. Once that is done, it is frozen in stone as to what it is classified as. If you have objective criteria, not just visual criteria, you will never have these problems. If you have political people signing off on this stuff also, you will not have the issues we have seen in our recent past.