Bill C-71 Final Reading in Senate Set for May 9, Pratte Says — Canada’s Senate will vote on Bill C-71 for the third and final time on May 9, said the Senate sponsor of the bill, pushing the government’s plan to further restrict hunters, farmers and sport shooters a step closer to becoming law.

“There was an agreement between the leaderships of the different parliamentary groups in the Senate providing that the 3rd reading vote would be held next Thursday, May 9th,” Senator André Pratte told today by e-mail in response to questions. “Therefore, I expect this final vote will be held on that day.”

Restrict and Confiscate

The Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed Bill C-71 in March 2018 to confiscate rifles from as many as 15,000 men and women after they die, make it easier for the federal police to prohibit any other guns, and make it harder for police-approved hunters and shooters to buy, sell, own and travel with firearms.

Many senators support the Liberals, giving Bill C-71 a high risk of becoming law.

Read: Liberal Voters Are Most Hostile to Gun Owners, Leger Poll Shows

“I do not support this bill.”

—Conservative Senator Don Plett

“I do not support this bill,” Senator Don Plett of the opposition Conservative Party told the Senate yesterday as it considered a committee’s proposals to amend the draft text.

Critical Election Issue

Hunting for food and shooting for recreation or competition are part of Canadian culture and heritage, and farmers use guns to control predators and pests. Many people also rely on their guns for personal protection in an emergency.

More than 2.2 million men and women have a police-approved licence to own guns. Millions more family and friends of all ages also hunt and shoot safely and responsibly under their control.

Repeal and Reject

Fair treatment and respect for firearm users is a critical issue in this year’s election, scheduled for October. The Liberals have said they are considering mass confiscation of all handguns, plus many rifles and shotguns.

The Conservatives are the only major federal party that promised to repeal Bill C-71 if they win the election.

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

McPhedran Handgun Ban?

Senator Marilou McPhedran, a Trudeau appointee, said April 8 she will seek to change Bill C-71 at Third Reading so it takes away handguns from their lawful, legitimate, licensed owners. Pratte, himself appointed by Trudeau, didn’t comment today on whether he supports her confiscation plan.

Nothing in Bill C-71 is aimed at stopping violent offenders or gangs or increasing safety.

Plett Leads Opposition

Plett led efforts to gut the bill. He and other opponents proposed amendments to avoid a federal-police monopoly on how to classify firearms and to eliminate a requirement to get police permission to take handguns for repair. His speech to the Senate last December at Second Reading offered one of the bill’s most powerful critiques. Every major national or provincial firearm and hunting association opposes Bill C-71.

Read: Senators Plett and Pratte Respond After Committee Guts Bill C-71

Several pro-Trudeau senators have said they will vote against the amendments and want to restore the government’s restrictions and prohibitions. That vote comes before the Third Reading.

Stack of Police Approvals

If the Senate rejects the proposed changes, a police-approved pistol shooter could go to jail for taking their police-approved handgun to a police-approved gunsmith without special police authorization for the trip. Besides the frustration for the owner, such paperwork wastes police time and money that could go to community safety.

The bill will almost certainly become law by the last work day of this parliamentary session on June 21.

Bill C-71 Next Steps

(Date is unknown for most steps.)

  • May 7: Senate resumes debate on committee’s proposed amendments
  • Senate votes on amendments
  • Debate on Third Reading, with possible McPhedran handgun ban
  • May 9: Vote on Third Reading
  • House of Commons debates any Senate amendments
  • House of Commons votes on any Senate amendments
  • Senate debates whether or not to accept House of Commons decision, then votes (Unlikely that bill would go back to House of Commons)
  • Royal Assent to become law
  • Coming Into Force of the new law

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The Bill C-71 Book Cover Canada Firearms