Lakes District gun owners blast federal Bill C-71 on firearms rules

Lakes District gun owners blast federal Bill C-71 on firearms rules

Bill C-71 amending the Firearms Act, a piece of legislation that would put tighter restrictions on gun ownership passed through the House of Commons in Ottawa in September.

But the rural demographic of Houston and the Lakes District, with a larger number of hunters and gun owners compared to urban areas, gave the bill the equivalent of scattered, awkward applause.

MP to hold 100 Mile town hall on Bill C-71

As of Nov. 28 the bill was going through its second reading in the Senate.

Some of the key changes that C-71 would bring include requiring retailers to record details of firearms sales and inventories, and background checks for criminal behaviour or mental illness extending further than the current five years.

Licensed gun owners would also have to have an authorization to transport (ATT) paper if they plan to travel with a restricted firearm.

“I think it’s preposterous,” Don Stevenson, a member of the Tweedsmuir Park Rod & Gun Club told Black Press.

“There are already stringent background checks for owning firearms. I’ve got tags on all of my firearms and it took a long time. One action on my part can see all that taken away. From my point of view it’s like someone taking away your car because you had an accident.”

Stevenson, who is a hunter and rancher, regards C-71 as not doing enough to target gang activity where most actual gun violence takes place.

“Taking the guns away from sportsmen isn’t the answer,” he said.

For Claudia Ferris, Public Relations Director with the British Columbia Wildlife Federation, the background checks in the bill raise a lot of questions.

“[What if] you got into a bar fight in your 20s – is that going to come back? Will that impact someone in their 50s who likes to go hunting with their families?”

As for mental health checks, Ferris wonders how invasive they might be, “Would you going to the doctor because you feel depressed – does that affect your potential of getting a gun?”

She’s also concerned that the added regulations will exhaust the patience of sportspeople.

“If the activity becomes too expensive and too onerous then they might find another activity. All these restrictions make it harder for people to get out and enjoy the wilderness and hunt.”

“Why should rural hunters pay the price for Surrey gang members?” she asked.

Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, sympathizes with the frustrations that law-abiding gun owners feel about the bill, and believes it still needs some review.

“I think the people that are initially impacted are the people who follow the law. It’s the nature of the beast,” he said.

In general, Cullen thinks the government hasn’t done the best job in communicating with gun-owners, who don’t trust the federal Liberals.

“I think where the Liberals have failed is in respecting what the gun-owning community has done in terms of training and safety,” he said.

“There’s too much ignorance of gun owners or hunting families. And of rural hunting life. Don’t let that ignorance lead to drawing up bad laws.”

At the same time, he believes gun owners should be aware of how fearful many people have become after hearing about or witness gun violence in their communities.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District of houston
Council dips into surplus for highway project

Costs have risen to place utility lines underground

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Most Read