SURREY, BC- The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) would like to thank Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his steadfastness in honouring his promise to eliminate the long-gun registry at the recent passing of Bill C-19 at the Senate and signing by Governor General David Johnston, but there is still a long way to go for law abiding gun owners.
“This is a significant step forward for all Canadians, especially law abiding firearms owners,” said Rod Wiebe, president, BCWF. “Firearms owners have waited more than a decade for the repeal of the 1995 firearms legislation (Bill C-68), which has criminalized normal Canadians who own firearms and created a large, expensive and ineffective bureaucracy. “
Scrapping the long-gun registry is a good first step. However, even after the long-gun registry is history, gun owners will still be treated as criminals because of the way the Firearms Act (Bill C-68) defines licensing.
It appears licensed gun owners have fewer rights than criminals. Police can conduct warrantless searches of gun owners’ properties but not those of suspected criminals. Gun owners are required to testify against themselves but accused criminals are not. In both these cases, gun owners’ Charter rights are violated. The firearms license misdirects the police. Valuable police resources are wasted keeping track of peaceable license holders that could be used to monitor violent criminals on probation or parole. Millions of Canadians believe this is wrong headed.
Gary Mauser, BCWF firearms committee chair, said, “All too often, the police use licensing requirements to harass gun owners unnecessarily. For example, hunters have been stopped and their guns confiscated because inadequately trained police did not know the law. In some jurisdictions, gun owners who forget to renew their license are pressured into surrendering their firearms.”
The BCWF is British Columbia’s largest and oldest conservation organization with over 40,000 members passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Visit www.bcwf.bc.ca for more information.