Recreational Firearms Community
|Greg Illerbrun-Bringing You The Facts|
On November 24, 2011 I made a presentation to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Bill C-19, an act to amend the Criminal Code and Firearms Act. This is what I said:
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Committee members and fellow witnesses, it is an honor to speak to you today. Our time is valuable so let me get to the point:
The thousands of people I represent support the permanent elimination of the firearms registry.
This is a vital first step in fulfilling this government's longstanding commitment to replace the current law with one that pre- serves the right to our traditional lifestyle.
I have a passion for hunting and the shooting sports that I share with three daughters; two are avid hunters and the third raids my deep freeze.
Hunting is a widespread family tradition in Saskatchewan.
I am a former RCMP officer as well as a Past President of the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, one of the largest wildlife organizations of its kind in the world.
Since 1995 I have been the Chair of the Saskatchewan Recreational Firearms Committee which works with firearm groups, local government and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
These organizations comprise everyday people interested in the outdoors and the use of firearms. We, along with other Canadians, took great offence to the creation of The Firearms Act still commonly referred to 16 years later, as Bill C-68.
What exactly did we find so offensive about the legislation? Well I think the former Auditor General Sheila Fraser summed it up best when she reported to parliament that the initial focus was to use the blanket registry information to target high -risk cases. The focus was expanded to regard all gun owners in the same way due to the view that the use of firearms is in itself a "questionable activity" which re- quires strong controls. As a result, the legislation focused all its might on the legal law-abiding firearms society with little to no measures to address the true criminal activity that takes place with firearms. That approach is fundamentally wrong.
Look at the example of the handgun registry, in place for decades, yet we see increasing use of handguns by criminals today.
Registries do not work to stop crime. Check the record in New Zealand. You may be aware that Allan Rock, former Justice Minister once said: "I came to Ottawa with the firm belief that only the police and military should have firearms."
This plan to rid Canada of private firearms, was strategically planned and made possible by the Liberal party through the creation of Bill C-68. The tools were carefully crafted into law, where they exist to this day, waiting to be used. Here's some quick background on the Firearms Act of today:
First of all, it is a criminal offence for anyone other than a soldier or a police officer to possess a firearm. The current license is a temporary permit that prevents the police from charging you for th crime you are committing. At the whim o government, it can be revoked, or made difficult to obtain or keep. Without it, you cannot possess a firearm. Many Saskatchewan residents have been charged with a criminal offence simply because they forgot to renew their license. As a former police officer, I cannot support convicting farmers who need to use firearm for pest control. And I submit to you that some of these same people were Veterans, who should not have their freedom, paid for in blood, vanish with the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen. A firearms license must be made valid for life unless the individual has lost that right through criminal act.
Second, it is a criminal offence to posses an unregistered firearm. Some would suggest this is the same as registering a dog or a vehicle. Dog and vehicle owners do not receive a criminal record for failing t comply.
Using criminal law to enforce gun control is not acceptable. Yet sadly, we have spent two billion dollars tracking honest citizens. Please kill the registry and use the money to deal with real criminals.
Third, the Government can change any regulation through Order In Council including firearms classification. This means that any firearm, currently legal, can be re-classed and confiscated as the result of a closed-door cabinet meeting. Confiscations have and will continue to happen as long as this insidious legislation exists in its current form.
Fourth, Government inspectors, not police services, can enter your home, without a warrant, based on the "suspicion" that there is a firearm, ammunition or documentation of a firearm.
Am I painting you a clear picture? It sure doesn't seem like firearms owners are treated the same as other Canadians.
Fifth, the Firearms Act, removes your right to remain silent. Inspectors can demand you tell them where your firearms or any other related evidence are, and if you do not assist them you can be charged and put in jail. You do not have the right to remain silent. This is not because you are a drug dealer, a sex offender, or a murderer. It is because the law identifies you as a legal firearms owner. Criminals enjoy more rights than firearm owners.
Is there a long history of legal gun owners using them for illegal purposes? The answer is no! This entire regime was built for a "potential" risk that I can tell you today, does not exist.
The previous Liberal government deliberately crafted these tools, and others, so that over time they could bring an end to all private ownership of firearms in Canada.
Leave the current act as is, and it is only a matter of time before a government will use these tools to end a time honored, and legitimate way of life in Canada.
Ending the registry is an excellent first step towards replacing The Firearms Act. I challenge the government to continue to lead by integrity. Keep your promise to develop a new law that all Canadians can support.
Never Forgive - Never Forget
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