The Liberal government introduced long-promised legislation on Tuesday to strengthen controls on the sale, licensing and tracing of guns. (Photo Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The Liberal government introduced long-promised legislation on Tuesday to strengthen controls on the sale, licensing and tracing of guns. (Photo Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Just ‘more red tape’

Local business person offers opinion on proposed gun legislation

“Safety is already there. This is just more red tape so people will say ‘to heck with it’ and walk away.”

Kenny Leslie from Valley Firearms was referring to federal legislation introduced on Tuesday which would require gun retailers to keep records of all firearms inventory and sales for at least 20 years.

At present, records are only kept on sales of restricted guns, such as a handgun or semi-automatic.

Ramping up all firearm sales may have gun advocates perceiving this “new” legislation as the Liberal’s veiled attempt to reinstate the long gun registry.

“That cost taxpayers millions and millions of dollars and it didn’t do anything,” said Leslie. “It’s already as secure as it could be (to purchase a gun), so this is basically another registry and really just another level of harassment.”

According to a Canadian Press story, the legislation would also require purchasers of rifles and shotguns to present a valid licence.

Leslie counters that statement.

He says, as it stands now, no one can walk into a retailer and purchase a firearm or ammunition of any kind without a valid licence.

“Of course you need a valid PAL (Possession Acquisition Licence), it has to be up-to-date and valid, before you can purchase any firearm or ammunition,” Leslie explained. “That’s already in place and has been for years. As far as the records go, when it comes to restricted, of course there are records and the gun is registered in the buyers name.”

Besides registering a restricted firearm in the purchaser’s name, there’s additional security that can delay the transaction up to 48 hours.

“I would call it into the RCMP with all the information such as name, address and phone number and they do a check,” Leslie added. “It’s usually (within) two days before they can take the gun home.”

The whole process of purchasing any firearm takes about three months, so there are already numerous checks and balances in place, he said.

“It’s a bunch of BS,” Leslie added.

“They are making it look like we don’t do what we already do, and have been doing for years.”

The Liberal’s proposed measure – part of a wide-ranging firearms bill tabled in the House of Commons – is intended to assist police in investigating gun trafficking and other crimes.

The bill would expand the scope of background checks on those who want to acquire a gun. Instead of just the five years immediately preceding a licence application, personal history questions would cover a person’s entire lifetime.

According to the Canadian Press, while crime rates in Canada have generally been declining for more than two decades, offences involving firearms have become more prevalent. Especially since 2013, the government notes, “Gun-related homicides, domestic and gender-based violence involving guns, criminal gang activity and gun thefts are all up significantly.”

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has already earmarked more than $327 million over five years and $100 million a year thereafter, to address criminal gun and gang activities.

The government says the legislative proposals emphasize public safety and effective police work, while respecting law-abiding firearms owners.

However, the Liberals expect political pushback from the Conservatives, as the bill would repeal measures passed by the previous government.

For instance, it would roll back some automatic authorizations to transport restricted and prohibited firearms, such as handguns and assault weapons. Under the bill, owners would need a permit to transport such guns, except when taking them to a shooting range or home from a store.

The bill also proposes restoring the authority of RCMP experts to classify firearms without political influence.

– with files from Canadian Press