Ritz says Lib bill would target rural Canadians

By Geoff Lee

April 13, 2017 12:00 AM

Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Gerry Ritz is taking pot shots at what he sees as an attempt by the Liberal Party to bring back a gun registry.
Ritz fears possible gun control legislation this spring will again target rural Canadians and legitimate gun owners like him.
“This hits very close to home,” said Ritz, in an interview from Ottawa last week.
He noted the gun registry has been an issue in all seven elections he’s been in.
“It’s one of those Liberal traits that just keeps rearing its ugly head,” he said.
The Liberal policy platform will require firearms vendors to keep records of all firearms inventory and for vendors to keep records of all firearms sales and buyers’ information.
Ritz is not buying assurances from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, that changes to existing gun legislation in Bill C-42 won’t create a new gun registry.
“They cannot achieve the changes they have publically proposed without a mechanism of registration,” said Ritz.
The Liberals say record keeping of firearm inventory and sales will assist police in investigating firearm trafficking and other gun-related crimes.
Ritz says he’s hearing from people that it’s fine if vendors and chief firearm officers want to check the validity of the their Possession and Acquisition Licences.
“That’s fine; we’ve always gone along with that to make sure people were trained and were registered,” said Ritz.
“But now, they want to ascertain the validity of that licence on every sale, plus the store owner or whoever you’re buying that firearm from has to phone in and make sure you’re qualified to do that.”
He said that means we are back to a registry.
“It’s all about the data and whether you call it a firearm registry or not, by any other name, it’s still a data collection point that creates a registry again.”
In 2011, the Progressive Conservatives introduced legislation that ended the registry and allowed the government to destroy records pertaining to non-restricted firearms.
Data has always been kept for restricted weapons, and Ritz says anyone who deals in illegal firearm trading should be prosecuted.
“But please, don’t as collateral damage, capture farmers or hunters,” said Ritz.
“That’s always been the problem.”
He said when you talk to the owners of gun shops like Magnum Gun Outfitters or Prophet River Firearms in Lloydminster, they will tell you it’s tougher to make gun sales flow smoothly.
“This is a commodity, this is a legal right to own as long as I am licensed, but now they’re starting to put together this data, which in the dark recesses of the Liberal mind will create another registry,” said Ritz.
The Liberal’s legislation is positioned to get handguns and assault weapons off the street.
They are proposing to provide $100 million a year to the provinces and territories to support police task forces to take illegal guns off the streets, and reduce gang violence.
They also want to implement the imported gun market regulations delayed by the former PC government under Stephen Harper.
The Liberals also plan to shake up the make-up and focus off the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to require enhanced background checks for anyone seeking to purchase a hand gun or other restricted firearms.
“The advisory committee that minister Goodale has put together does not have any firearm-friendly people on it whatsoever, so there’s a bit of concern,” said Ritz.
“Actually, there’s a bit of unrest from his own almost rural-based backbench Liberals concerned this is going to be gun registry number two.
“You know what that did to the Liberals the last time around.”

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