Last week writer Chris McGarry did a commendable job in outlining the travesties embedded in the Firearms Act and detailing the efforts of Bruce Montague to overturn them. Where he falls short is in his suggestion that C-391 is a good start on the road to repealing the Act.
Qualifying C-391 as a step behind a smokescreen would be closer to the mark.
The Conservatives are intentionally misleading the public into thinking that the expenses related to the implementation of the Firearms Act, some 2 billion dollars, were the responsibility of the long gun registry. In reality, most of the fiscal bloodletting rests on the doorstep of the new PAL/POL licensing, created by the Firearms Act. A licensing system that C-391offers does nothing to change.
Retention of that licensing system maintains the criminalization of responsible firearms owners for simple paperwork infractions. As one example, if a licensed gun owner does not report a change of address he or she could, by law, be imprisoned for up to 2 years. At the same time those individuals, under court imposed firearms prohibitions, face no requirement to report on their whereabouts. The most contentious elements of the Firearms Act will remain intact with the passage of C-391. Hardy what could be characterized as a good first step.
At the same time there is no evidence, as yet, that C-391 will even eliminate registration. A section of C-391 follows:
"(c) in the case of a transfer to an individual, the transferor verifies the validity of the transferee's Firearms License with the Canada Firearms Centre, and obtains a reference number for the inquiry."
What is the reference number for? What are the contents of the inquiry? Until we see the regulations that will accompany the law, if passed, we have no idea if even long gun registration will be eliminated.
Those regulations might require that the same information be given to the CFC that we currently provide, resulting in registration without papers.
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