The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) supports firearms legislation measures that increase the public safety of Canadians, as long as it doesn’t implement further unnecessary restrictions or barriers on law-abiding firearms users.
The government’s stated intention of Bill C-71 is to prioritize public safety and respond to increasing trends in gun crime and violence, yet it would seem that the majority of the proposals are focused on lawful firearms users. The government is painting a picture of alarming trends in firearms-related crime and violence to justify the proposed measures and to show action on election platform promises of 2015. Unfortunately, targeting lawful firearms users will not help them achieve their intended goals.
The stats being used to support the need for Bill C-71 reference 2013 (lowest criminal homicides in 50 years) as a baseline to suggest we have a growing problem with firearms in Canada. However, the facts show a long-term decline in firearm-related crime.
For decades, the OFAH has been pushing the federal government to invest in programs and policy that targets illegal firearms and actual criminal activity, rather than policy that has the effect of making criminals out of law-abiding firearms owners. The investments announced by the Government of Canada in 2017 to fight gangs and gun violence are a step in the right direction; however, this ‘complementary bill’ will do little to achieve the government’s stated goals.