Bill C-71 Heads to Senate After Passing in House of Commons

24 Sep 2018

4 min read

TheGunBlog.ca — The Canadian government’s Bill C-71 heads to the Senate for review after having passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons today.

The proposed law could take effect this year as part of a series of measures by the ruling Liberal Party to curtail the private ownership of firearms.

The Liberals presented Bill C-71 in March to add obstacles on police-vetted gun owners who buy, sell or transport firearms, or simply keep the ones they have.

If passed by the Senate, which is likely, the bill would prohibit rifles owned by more than 10,000 men and women and make it easier to ban other guns.

A total of 185 members of parliament stood in favour of Bill C-71 and 79 stood against, according to the tally by the Speaker of the House this evening in Ottawa.

“What a shame,” Glen Motz, a Conservative MP, said on Twitter after opposing the bill with his party. “Thanks to Liberals, Bill C-71 (firearms) is now one step closer to becoming law.”

If passed, the bill will add new constraints on millions of Canadian men, women and youth who hunt for food, use firearms for protection, enjoy plinking, or shoot in matches.

Nine Team Canada shooters aged 20 to 72 competed in a world championship in South Korea this month for spots in the 2020 Olympics.

Gun Owner Harassment

Under Bill C-71, they will need special police permission to take a pistol from home to the gunsmith or the airport, or risk prison. A separate police authorization would be needed to pick up a pistol from the gunsmith and take it to the airport en route to a match. A third police authorization would be required to take a pistol from a gun store to a gunsmith for customization. If a pistol needs tuning after a range session, it would be a criminal offence to take it directly to the gunsmith without a fourth specific police permission. Police offices that review the permission requests are closed evenings and weekends. They will have full discretion to refuse the requests.

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association nicknamed Bill C-71 “The Federal Firearm Owners Harassment Act.” All gun-rights, gun-industry and major hunting associations oppose it.

“This bill affects all firearms users, whether you are a hunter, trapper or recreational shooter,” the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters tweeted on Sept. 25. “If you are a firearms owner, it is important to stand with us as we do everything in our power to influence meaningful changes before it becomes law.”

The Liberals outlined many of the elements of Bill C-71 in the 2015 election campaign that won them a majority of seats in parliament. Anyone who didn’t vote Conservative in that election contributed to the Liberal victory and their continued assault on shooters.

In 1995, they made it a crime for a husband to give his spouse a gun unless both had permission from the federal police. They also initiated the confiscation of hundreds of thousands of handguns and rifles from licensed owners after they die. In 2004, they voted new restrictions on gun imports that are now scheduled to take effect Dec. 1.

A major public-relations firm that advises the government said in March that the Liberals could win votes by further squeezing firearm users.

Read: Anti-Gun Laws Would Help Liberals Win Election, PR Advisor Says

The government proposed Bill C-71 two weeks later. Two weeks after that, on April 4, the government published a report on phasing out lead in ammunition. In August the prime minister said he’s considering a “full ban on handguns and assault weapons.”

That would mean the seizure of more than 1 million pistols and revolvers in the hands of Olympic athletes and other licensed owners, since all other firearms are banned already. It could also mean the confiscation of the SKS, developed for the Soviet military and now the most-popular semi-auto centre-fire rifle in Canada.

ReadTrudeau Says to Study ‘Full Ban on Handguns and Assault Weapons’

The Bill C-71 Book Cover Canada Firearms

Download The Bill C-71 Book Now

Votes by Party

All MPs present from the Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Bloc Quebecois and Green Party stood in favour of Bill C-71 today when the voting began at 6:45 p.m. in Ottawa.

T.J. Harvey and some other rural MPs were absent, in some cases to avoid risking their seats by supporting their party and voting for an unpopular law. Harvey was replaced as leader of the Liberal rural caucus in April after sharing concerns about Bill C-71.

All MPs present from the Conservative Party stood against the bill, including Andrew Scheer, Glen Motz and Rachael Harder, who led opposition to the proposed law.

Bernier Absent

Harder sponsored a House of Commons online petition to protest Bill C-71. It’s the second-most-signed e-petition on record.

Maxime Bernier, the MP who quit the Conservatives a month ago to set up his own party, was absent from today’s vote. The last time he mentioned Bill C-71 on Twitter was six months ago.

Update 26 Sept.: Bernier tweeted on Sept. 25 after TheGunBlog.ca contacted him for a comment that he was absent for “personal reasons.”

Scheer, the leader of the Conservatives, suggested last week Bill C-71 could become law by Christmas. He pledged to repeal and replace it if elected prime minister. He also joined police leaders, provincial premiers and shooters across the country in rejecting a handgun ban aimed at licensed owners.

Read: Scheer Pledges to Repeal Bill C-71, Rejects Handgun Ban

Update 25 Sept.: Adds OFAH comment.

Update 26 Sept: Adds Bernier response.

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