Maxime Bernier to Change Gun Classifications, Remove Mag Limits
14 February 2017
3 min read
Maxime Bernier, the leading candidate to head the Conservative Party of Canada and then possibly (hopefully!) become prime minister, outlined his poposed firearms policy in an e-mail today. It’s reprinted below.
- simplify gun-classification system
- require changes in gun classification go through parliament, not police
- remove restrictions on magazine capacity
- lengthen validity of gun licences to 10 years from 5 years
- increase availability of firearms-safety courses
- compensate gun owners for loss of property under Firearms Act
Some past Conservative Party leaders have acted against responsible gun users and owners. Today the party has several superb leadership candidates, and some may have better proposals than Bernier’s. His aren’t perfect, but they are strong, pragmatic and have my support. He can always improve them later with expert input.
For some background on current candidates, see Gun Policies of Conservative Party Leadership Candidates (2) and Kevin O’Leary Gets So Much Wrong About Guns.
Below is the text of Bernier’s e-mail, with bold as in original and links removed. The main points are on his website here.
From: Maxime Bernier
Date: 14 February 2017, 09:25
Subject: A fair gun policy for Canada
Canadian Firearms laws are broken, and I want to fix them.
At the whim of a bureaucrat, firearms are assigned new classifications.
Legally purchased firearms are being made illegal, even though no laws have changed.
This needs to stop.
The firearms laws are so complicated, and so convoluted, that they have become the perfect example of injustice in the name of justice.
To fix this, I propose we replace the current Firearms Act with clear legislation based on reason, not on fear.
Firearms ownership is part of our shared Canadian heritage. We are a country founded on the fur trade. This needs to be recognized.
I also recognize that we need to protect public safety and avoid the excesses that exist south of the border.
There are three main areas to look at when considering firearms legislation. Licensing; classification of firearms; and magazine sizes.
I do not propose that we replace our current licensing system. Instead, we should ensure that firearms safety courses are more readily available, especially in rural and remote areas.
I will double the length of firearms licenses from 5 to 10 years.
Firearms license-holders are automatically subjected to daily background checks. If a firearms license-holder commits a crime, his or her license is revoked. There is no need to go through the renewal process every 5 years.
We need to provide clear, non-arbitrary legislation for what constitutes a non-restricted, restricted, or prohibited firearm.
Firearms should not be classified based on how they look, but on how they function.
I propose the following classifications:
(a) a firearm that is not a prohibited or restricted firearm.
(a) a fully-automatic firearm,
(b) a firearm that is adapted from a rifle or shotgun, whether by sawing, cutting or any other alteration, and that, as so adapted, is less than 660 mm in length.
(c) a firearm that is listed as prohibited prior to June 20, 2016.
(a) a firearm that is not a prohibited firearm,
(b) a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm,
(c) a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise.
This is in line with the Simplified Classification System, adopted by Conservative members at the Policy Convention in Vancouver last year.
The current regulation of magazine sizes is irrational. Our internationally competitive shooters are forced to practice with magazines below standard capacity.
This makes no sense. It’s clear that those who are not inclined to follow the law will not be deterred by having to remove a rivet from a magazine.
My proposal would repeal the ineffective, and frankly nonsensical, magazine capacity restrictions.
The classification of firearms should not change by the whim of the RCMP, or cabinet. It should require a change in law through Parliament to re-classify a firearm.
To respect our Canadian tradition of firearms ownership, and the principle of fairness, I would have the Canadian government reimburse all firearms owners for their loss of property resulting from the implementation of Bill C-68, and any subsequent legislation that caused the confiscation of their legally purchased firearms.
This policy, like all my policies, is based on freedom and responsibility, fairness and respect.
I believe it is the right answer for firearms legislation in Canada.
If you agree, donate to my campaign by clicking here, right now.
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