The Liberals recently announced their party policy for the upcoming election, and while we have long known the NDP and Conservative’s stance on firearms, the Liberals had been relatively coy on the subject… until now. It reads as follows, with our own notations following each Liberal policy point:
“We will take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets.
Over the last decade, Stephen Harper has steadily weakened our gun laws in ways that make Canadians more vulnerable and communities more dangerous.
We will take pragmatic action to make it harder for criminals to get, and use, handguns and assault weapons.
- repeal changes made by Bill C-42 that allow restricted and prohibited weapons to be freely transported without a permit, and we will put decision-making about weapons restrictions back in the hands of police, not politicians;
Bill C-42 has not altered the degree to which Restricted nor Prohibited weapons can be transported nor has it removed any of the required permits. At the risk of sounding trite, the only supposition we can make here is that the Liberal party doesn’t actually know what C-42 entails, but they want it repealed because it is clearly seen as a relaxing of a gun law. As for putting the RCMP back in charge of firearm restrictions, that flies directly in the face of the separation of powers between legislative and judicial branches; one of the most basic tenets of democracy. It also ensures firearm classification happens in secret, with no transparency, and with no accountability.
- provide $100 million each year to the provinces and territories to support guns and gangs police task forces to take illegal guns off our streets and reduce gang violence;
This could be great, but at the same time, the program could easily turn into a federally-funded license-lapse watchdog. At best, it puts a lot of power and money in the hands of what we suspect would be a small group of individuals given a mandate to remove guns from circulation, and at worst it’s another government program targeting gun owners. After all, what is an illegal gun? Is it a gun that’s actually being used in the commission of a crime (an assessment we would agree with) or is it Grandpa Bob’s old full-auto service weapon that he somehow managed to keep his hands on when he came back from the war?
- modify the membership of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to include knowledgeable law enforcement officers, public health advocates, representatives from women’s groups, and members of the legal community;
Currently, the Firearms Advisory Committee is, by definition and intent, a panel of firearms experts. The idea of firearm experts on the advisory committees for law enforcement, public health, or women’s groups makes about as much sense as having law enforcement, public health workers, women’s group representatives, and legal beagles on the Firearms Advisory Committee. Modifying the CFAC membership to include those groups would serve no purpose but to provide further regulations a sounding board of biased individuals with little to no knowledge of firearms. If a government is to make sensible, well-informed gun laws, they need to know about guns!
- require enhanced background checks for anyone seeking to purchase a handgun or other restricted firearm;
Like what, a blood test? What trumps the daily criminal record check that all PAL and RPAL holders already go through?
- require purchasers of firearms to show a license when they buy a gun, and require all sellers of firearms to confirm that the license is valid before completing the sale;
Yet again, isn’t this already the case?
- require firearms vendors to keep records of all firearms inventory and sales to assist police in investigating firearms trafficking and other gun crimes;
Another thing that’s already in place and another policy point proving that the Liberal party doesn’t know what the existing laws are, but they’re quite comfortable saying that whatever they are, they aren’t strict enough.
- immediately implement the imported gun marking regulations that have been repeatedly delayed by Stephen Harper; and
The UN marking scheme would be crippling to many Canadian firearms businesses, as has been discussed at length, and would provide little to no benefit towards the actual illegal trafficking in arms.
- as part of our investment in border infrastructure, invest in technologies to enhance our border guards’ ability to detect and halt illegal guns from the United States entering into Canada.”
Now this is an interesting one with four factors at play. We share the longest unguarded border in the world. It also sees more trade than any other border in the world. One of the most lucrative trades in the world is the drug trade. The single most common use and possession of firearms is within the drug trade. How do those four factors come together? Well, on one hand, the Liberals would like to decrease cross-border gun smuggling. On the other, they want to make marijuana legal nation-wide in Canada, while it remains largely illegal in the United States. Call us crazy, but if most of the guns coming north are doing so in trade for drugs, making the drugs easier to come by up here doesn’t seem to be a great way to quell that illegal gun trade.
Overall, we are obviously unimpressed with the Liberal policy. Be it through plain ignorance of the current legal morass gun owners currently mired in, or through ignorance of the effects of what they are proposing, the sense one gets from the Liberal gun policy is that they will find ways to spend hundreds millions reconfiguring committees and funding programs that will have no positive effect on gun crime and numerous detrimental effects on the average Canadian gun owner.
The real irony? That the same policy book that outlines their plan to keep guns out of the hands of criminals through additional prohibitions and restrictions has, on literally the next page, an entire section on their proposed legalization of marijuana because “Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug. Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system. It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses.”
So there you have it. Drug prohibitions don’t work, but gun prohibitions will. To be blunt, it seems Liberal logic has gone to pot… or perhaps it’s at an all-time high? Ok, ok… all punning aside, this much we know: Come October 19th, we hope gun owners will show up to ensure we don’t have to put up with any of these dopey suggestions.
Sorry. We couldn’t help ourselves.