The federal government has just floated a proposal to extend the amnesty for those firearms “owners of non-restricted rifles and shotguns who had a firearms licence that expired after January 1, 2004 and which has not yet been renewed, and to those who hold a valid licence but who possess unregistered non-restricted firearms”.
However it did give them an opportunity to quote a whole bunch of anti-gun people who also had absolutely no idea of what the amnesty was really about.
Families of victims of gun crime, who support the long gun registry, are calling the amended order a bad move that will make the registry two years out of date — and essentially useless to police.
“It think that it’s totally and absolutely ridiculous,” Audette Sheppard, a gun control advocate whose son Justin was shot to death in Toronto in 2001, told CTV News.
“I think they’re extending it in part because they couldn’t get the legislation through the House of Commons.”
Shepard says the Tory move will lessen the controls of long guns and the shotguns in Canada.
“It truly demonstrates a total disregard for the Parliamentary process, because if you can’t change a law through the proper channels, it’s inappropriate to use an amnesty to undermine the will of Parliament,” she said. “These people just don’t get it, and they may not get it unless they become intimately affected by the results of what guns can do.”
Government critics say the Tories are trying to sneak a major change through Parliament without having to pass a new law.
“It says the Conservatives are trying to do by stealth what they can’t do out in the open — which is kill the long gun registry,” said Liberal Justice Critic Marlene Jennings.
All of which is a bunch of crap. What the amnesty does do is allow someone whose firearms licence has expired or who has a licence but has unregistered firearms to bring himself into compliance with the law without fear of criminal prosecution.
The catch being that if the gun owner has registered firearms but has an expired licence or has a licence and unregistered firearms, although he can’t be criminally charged, he can have his firearms seized.
The government (through the RCMP) is asking for individuals to submit their opinions on the proposed amnesty extension.
Individuals have until April 21, 2007 to submit their views on the proposal. They may do so by e-mail, by surface mail to:
Royal Canadian Mounted Police,
Canada Firearms Centre,
10th Floor, 50 O’Connor Street,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1M6,
or by calling 1 800 731-4000, ext 7799.
Regardless of the shortcomings of the amnesty, it is something that should be enthusiatically supported by all firearm owners even if they are not directly affected. All it takes is an e-mail, a letter or a phone call. The federal government needs to know that we are still strongly engaged in the fight to correct the excesses of the federal Firearms Act.