Bill C-71 and New Gun Bans Divide Liberal MPs, News Reports Say
TheGunBlog.ca — The risk of new gun bans for lawful Canadian shooters and the confiscations and restrictions promised in Bill C-71 are dividing members of parliament in the governing Liberal Party, news reports said this week.
Bill C-71, the government’s proposed law to prohibit more firearms and further restrict hunters and sport shooters, is “not overly supported” by Liberal representatives from rural electoral districts, CTV News reported yesterday.
The Liberals are gambling that new prohibitions will attract voters, but it’s a risky bet for many MPs. Supporting confiscations could repeat the past and get them voted out of office. Opposing bans could prompt the party leader to demote the MPs or block them from seeking re-election.
The previous Liberal rural caucus chair was replaced in his role this spring after expressing fears about the government’s plans to invent new crimes for hunters and sport shooters in Bill C-71.
Last month the prime minister ordered an examination of a ban on handguns and other firearms owned by Canada’s 2.2 million federally licensed gun owners, igniting opposition from shooters and concern among parliamentarians.
Senior police leaders, including the chief of the federal police, have questioned new prohibitions for legitimate gun owners.
“Nobody wants anybody killed, we all know that, but is this actually going to prevent and stop, you know, having bad guns in the hands of bad people? Is that going to work? That’s what I need to know,” Gudie Hutchings, a member of parliament from Newfoundland, told CBC News in an article Sept. 12.
Hunting and target shooting are among Canada’s safest and most-popular heritage and sporting activities. More Canadian men and women have gun licences than play hockey.
“We have farmers, sport shooters, hunters who legitimately have guns, and should, and are very responsible, and we have to make sure we keep their rights intact,” Kim Rudd, a parliamentarian from Ontario, told CBC. “But on the other hand … the question that came to me is, ‘Tell me what people need handguns and assault rifles for,’ and we haven’t answered that question yet.”
The Liberals prohibited automatic rifles in the 1970s. All those still in private hands are confiscated from their owners as they die.
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Hutchings and Rudd spoke to CBC from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Liberal Party held a retreat there this week to prepare for the fall session in the House of Commons starting next week.
- CTV News: Hot issues, big bills: What you need to know about the fall sitting of Parliament
- CBC News: As Liberals contemplate handgun ban, an urban-rural caucus divide emerges
- New Gun Law ‘Scaring’ Rural Liberal Politicians, Hill Times Says
- Anti-Gun Laws Would Help Liberals Win Election, PR Advisor Says
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