© Othmar Vohringer
(Originally published in the Merritt Herald)
By the time you read this column Justin Trudeau will be Prime Minister of Canada and the question for many is “What does the Trudeau government have in store for firearm owners?”
When the election campaign began I researched the Liberals, NDP and Green party on their stance about private firearm ownership. Since the Liberals have won the election I can spare you what the other parties would have in store for legal firearm owners and instead report on what I found out about Justin Trudeau’s take on it. It was not easy to pinpoint an agenda since Trudeau’s opinion seems to change all the time and was very much dependent on the province where he spoke about firearms. In Quebec Trudeau made a strong point of bringing back the old firearm registry that was in place before Harper scrapped it. The further west he traveled the less outspoken he was about the issue.
Now that the election campaign dust has settled things become much clearer. Although, unlike Chrétien, Trudeau does not view sport shooters and hunters as gun-toting criminals in the making, he too has not a very high opinion of private firearm ownership. Trudeau has no intention of bringing back the firearm registration act as it existed under the previous Liberal government but something similar, which in the end, amounts to the same thing. Trudeau wants to establish a paper trail through gun shops which would require that the store owners have to keep detailed information about every customer purchasing a firearm or ammunition which then has to be forwarded to the RCMP.
When the Conservative government under Harper scrapped the firearm registry act he replaced it with Bill C-42, also called the “Sensible firearm act”. Bill C-42 streamlined the whole firearm ownership licensing process and classified firearms in a much more common-sense way that made for less bureaucracy and thus speedier processing. Bill C-42 also put the blame on firearm related crime on the ones that violated the laws and not on law-abiding firearm owners. The law made provisions for long prison sentences for those that use and own firearms illegally, even for first time offenders. Interestingly enough, Trudeau found the prison sentences unreasonably hard although violent crime involving firearms went drastically down across Canada. Yet, at the same time Trudeau seems to be okay with advocating firearm control laws that would be regarded by many quite rightly as an invasion of privacy and the right to remain innocent until proven otherwise.
It remains to be seen what the Trudeau government eventually will come up with but after reading all available information there is little doubt in my mind that once again firearm owners will be singled out and presented to the crime-weary urbanites as the solution to combat drive-by-shootings and drug gang violence. Three indicators are a giveaway for the Liberals plans. Trudeau hired William Sterling Blair as an adviser.
William Sterling Blair is the ex- police chief of Toronto who has an established record as an outspoken anti-gun advocate using his time as police chief to come up with all kinds of schemes to make life difficult for legal firearm owners. Trudeau also announced a few days ago that: A.) He will abolish Bill C-42 and replace it with a new law and B.) That he will sign the UN’s Arms Treaty- which wants a global abolishment of all private firearm ownership, including guns for the purpose of sport shooting and hunting. After nine years of freedom for law-abiding firearm owners and laws that made sense it looks like that we are again in the crosshairs of party political ideology lacking any real-life evidence.