Maxime Bernier Announces “Fair Gun Policy”

Maxime Bernier
Maxime Bernier speaks in the House of Commons. (Photo: CP)

CPC Leadership-hopeful  Maxime Bernier has announced his firearms policy, drawing support – and criticism – for his election platform.

Conversative Member of Parliament and CPC leadership candidate Maxime Bernier has announce his election promises, including his stance on firearms regulation.

Bernier intends to significantly overhaul the Firearms Act. According to his website, his policy includes changes such doubling the length of firearms licenses, repeal magazine restrictions, reimbursing gun owners for property losses due to “gun grabs”, and even making Canadian Firearms Safety Courses more widely available.

While many of the changes proposed would be welcomed and well-received, his policy is not free from criticism. According to a newsletter released by Bernier, he intends to redefine the definitions of firearms classifications – not an inherently bad idea, however he intends to keep all firearms prohibited classified as such if named so prior to June 20, 2016.

This policy, as many have been quick to point out, extends beyond the Conservative’s firearm policy and would make it so many semi-automatic firearms would remain prohibited regardless of his policy on classifying firearms based upon function and not how they look.

Overall, however, his firearms policy is level-headed and reasonable and has received great support from the firearms community. There is certainly room for improvement, but this is a sign of good things for Canadian gunnies.

You can read the announcement in its entirety below:

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:

Non-Restricted:

(a) a firearm that is not a prohibited or restricted firearm.

Prohibited:

(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.

Restricted:

(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.

 

  • Michael Griebling

    I believe a significant change needed in the firearms act is to remove the criminalization element of improper storage and possession of firearms. There could be fines associated with these sorts of violations and not criminal proceedings. Under the current system, the RCMP regularly changes their mind about which firearms are prohibited or which magazines are no longer lawful and possession of these items could result in an otherwise lawful gun owner in jeopardy with the law through no fault of their own. Legally licensed firearm owners should be exempt from any criminal charges related to just owning firearms and accessories.

  • Sandy McNab

    It makes too much sense, not complicated enough.