Bill C-71 is an amendment to the Firearms Act and, if ratified, will make the illegal acquisition of more difficult.
Changes include enhanced background checks; meaning the Chief Firearms Officer would examine a person's entire life history for red flags rather than the current five year history check.
The bill would introduce mandatory record-keeping for businesses (including record dates, references, and license numbers and the firearm’s make and model, type and serial number) and removal of the automatic ATT (Authorization to Transit) document on an individual's firearm license. The government would give the RCMP the power to decide how individual firearms are classified.
There is currently a petition opposing the bill with 86,082 signatures, with 20,962 from Alberta.
Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, hosted a community meeting in Brooks on Bill C-71. He commented, “We had a really good turn out of people, we had two MPs that joined me. It was great to have a couple of MPs who are really interested in some things we needed to talk about last night.”
When asked what will happen to the bill now that it is in the Senate, Shields provided, “We don’t know what the Senate will do with this one; if they amend it, it comes back to us…if they don’t, it goes to Royal Assent.”
In terms of what people can do to stop the bill, Shields said “If you have concerns call your MP; phone rural MPs in other parties and express your opinion. We suggest to phone your senators and express your opinions.”
When asked about his personal opinion about the bill, Shields said, “There has been a lot of concern in the country about violence in particular in urban settings and rural crime.”
He went on to say, “…out of 140 homicides that have occurred in large urbans, 121 of those have been with illegal handguns, which is not what this piece of legislation addresses at all.”
He went on to say the bill is addressing legal long-gun owners who don’t commit crimes. It is more cost and more red tape for the legal gun owners.
Bill C-71 is now in the hands in the Senate and, if it does pass, the bill will be one step closer to becoming law.