As a reminder, as a non-profit your club cannot take a stance before or during an election to influence your vote, we can only provide information and make presentations on issues that our members face. It is up to you, the member, to use your voice to make your concerns heard directly to our MP and now, apparently, to the cities where you live.
On Tuesday, Feb 16th, Prime Minister Trudeau announced new legislation that impacts your traditions if passed. Bill C-21, which we encourage you to read further on here, promises among other incremental changes to:
- To force owners of the named firearms who do not participate in a buyback scheme to permanently store their firearms, never to be used again. Those who had only non-restricted PALs must upgrade if they own any of the newly prohibited firearms
- To allow municipalities to ban the ownership, storage and transport of handguns
- Limit “the glorification of violence” in marketing, with a penalty of up to five years of imprisonment
With a spring election potentially on the horizon, there may not be time for the legislation to be passed through both the House and the Senate. We encourage our members to educate themselves first and avail themselves of our democratic processes to make their concerns heard. Please continue watching our website for further information and possible actions you and your club an take.
Municipal handgun bans
Your club stance is obviously that we want our members to have their property and their traditions to be protected, regardless of whether the Federal government succeeds in passing firearms powers to the cities. We very much doubt that this can happen due to our Constitution that puts firearms regulation in the Federal sphere, and also puts power for funding and operation of law enforcement in the hands of the Provinces (this is the reason why there is a Provincial CFO who ultimately decides who can have a license and who cannot). While mayors such as Kennedy Stewart of Vancouver and Doug McCallum of Surrey have come out in favor of this aspect of the bill, how that power might be enforced is not at all clear.
What you can do: Contact your local mayor and city council and tell them that you, the law abiding gun owner, should not be blamed for the actions of gangsters and that you consider this a violation of your rights. Also tell them how unworkable such a ban will be and that it affects you – the taxpayer.
- Surrey City Council
- Coquitlam City Council
- Vancouver City Council
- Burnaby City Council
- Port Coquitlam City Council
- Port Moody City Council
- Pitt Meadows City Council
- New Westminster City Council
- Richmond City Council
- Delta City Council
The buyback that isn’t a buyback
Bill C-21 introduces the idea that a buyback of your hitherto prohibited firearms would be optional. Those who do not avail themselves of the government’s offer (which has no details – so you would not know how you will be compensated for your precious firearms) apparently will be allowed to keep them as “safe queens” and the owners how be given a new prohibited class. This is referred to in the bill as non-permissive storage. This is not something to be proud of. This means you will have firearms that you cannot bring to the range. Your competition, target, hobby gun will now languish without a purpose. Also, those of you who have non-restricted firearms that were prohibited in May 2020 will have to upgrade your license to restricted in order to pursue this option.
Also unlike certain other prohibited classes, you will not be able to acquire other similarly prohibited firearms from other holders of the license.
Obviously, this will make ownership of those firearms undesirable – which is the long-term goal of this government.
Expanded powers of seizure with and without warrant
In Bill C-21, an application to a Provincial court judge may result in an immediate order to seize a weapon from someone who may represent a threat to another person or who cohabits or is an associate of such a person. One change is that it now allows any person to apply for such an order – not necessarily a police officer and that it is an ex parte application – which means only one person may make this application without the other party being present. One concern is that this may be a tool to act against personal enemies. This video by a Canadian lawyer on this aspect of the bill is worth watching. It could be argued this is open to abuse and may become a “legal swatting” method.
Also in Bill C-21, there contains expanded powers for police to search and seize without a warrant if the person in question is already under an existing order from a judge who has been convinced that the person in question should not be in possession of weapons. Within a 30 day period, police may enter, search and seize without applying for a specific warrant.
Penalties for glorifying violence in gun advertising
Bill C-21 also introduces the idea that companies or persons who advertise firearms related products may be penalized up to five years of imprisonment if they somehow glorify violence against a person. While obviously this would need to be interpreted in a court, you may wonder why such a penalty is not also leveled at our media. If outdoor magazines or fliers are scrutinized, will the Federal government then extend that scrutiny to movies, television and video game advertising?
Replicas have further prohibitions and may be seized at any time
Bill C-21 also prohibits replicas which resemble firearms – which would be of great concern to the Airsoft community – to encompass almost all guns used in Airsoft competitions which generally do resemble firearms and do not exceed 152.4m per second. Under Bill C-21, the definition of what is a prohibited firearm is proposed to be amended thusly:
Other Bill C-21 details
Bill C-21 also contains other measures the government states will address gang violence, domestic violence, the issuing of ATCs and also suggests extending police powers to other agencies and even private authorities. We urge you to read the text of Bill C-21.
What you can do
Educate yourself. Read the bill and read the statements of the government.
Understand that a bill needs to be debated in the House and the Senate. And understand also that such an important bill is unlikely to pass in the remaining time of the current House sitting.
Engage your representatives. Discuss how this bill concerns you. Be calm and know your information.
Do not spread misinformation. Educate your media, community and your circle on how this does nothing to address gang violence, mental illness or lack of enforcement of our current laws.