In the wake of two mass shootings that occurred within hours of each other in the United States, many Canadians are looking to their own country and its relationship with gun violence, which has seen a rise of 42 per cent since 2013.
Unfortunately, Conservatives are looking to make firearms easier to purchase, which would increase the likelihood of mass shootings and endanger the lives of Canadians. The Harper administration had a legacy of making guns more accessible in Canada, from overruling the RCMP when it tried to ban several military assault weapons to eliminating the National Firearms Registry. Now, Andrew Scheer is looking to follow suit.
Here’s a roundup of all the ways Conservatives want to make guns easier to get.
Favour gun owners over average Canadians
Andrew Scheer has proposed to review all federal regulations on gun ownership, usage and transportation which do not “ensure that Canada’s firearms laws respect the rights of honest firearms owners”. This would empower gun owners at the expense of average Canadians.
Empower partisan politicians to slash gun regulations
His proposals, which were taken down from his website after he won the Conservative leadership last May, include stripping away the power of the RCMP to classify dangerous weapons and give it instead to partisan elected officials.
Scheer claims that the RCMP makes decisions about reclassifying guns “based on aesthetics.” But Scheer does not mention that this would empower politicians like Bob Zimmer, who wants to legalize the AR-15, and Michelle Remple, who received an illegal gift from Canada’s gun lobby.
No plans to restrict access to dangerous handguns
Scheer said he wants to tackle the surge of gun violence in Canada by targeting criminals who use weapons illegally, rather than supporting an outright handgun ban. However, research indicates that strict gun laws, including gun bans, reduce gun violence. Since Australia implemented the National Firearms Agreement in 1996 which banned certain weapons, there has been a significant reduction in mass shootings, and a reduction in the rate of firearm-related deaths.
Cancel expanded background checks and tougher purchasing rules
The Conservatives have vowed to repeal Bill C-71 if elected in the fall. Bill C-71 includes measures to broaden background checks for gun owners, toughen rules around the transportation of handguns, and tighten record-keeping requirements for the sale of firearms.
The government says C-71 brings Canada in line with the U.S., where federal law requires that records be kept on every gun sale through federally licensed firearms dealers. The bill also means police will examine a firearm applicant’s entire life history for potential red flags.
Scheer sides with gun lobby that supports zero gun regulations
Several members of the Conservative party, including Scheer himself, support the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR), a gun advocacy group that wants to let gun owners decide for themselves whether to carry their guns concealed or openly, have zero limitations on magazine capacity and no requirement to register any firearms. Conservative MP Michelle Rempel even gave a speech at the CCFR’s 2019 AGM in June.