Firearms,  Law & Policy

CCFR and Calgary Shooting Centre Host Firearms Townhall – RECAP

MP Glen Motz Speaks to the People about Bill C-71

Words By: Wally F.          Photos By: Wally F.

……….Member of Parliament Glen Motz for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner took the time out of his busy schedule to come to Calgary, not even remotely close to his riding to open a dialogue with Firearms owners regarding the current state of firearms in Canada.

……….Sponsored by the Canadian Coalition For Firearms Rights (CCFR) and hosted at the Calgary Shooting Centre (CSC) this open house which was held on Wednesday August 7th was conducted to a full house of concerned firearms owners from all stripes and walks of life.  I noted people from farms and rural areas in attendance, urban dwellers, blue collars folks, lawyers, other politicians, business owners, hunters, old, young, male, female, former law enforcement and so on.  A good cross section of Canadian firearms owners.

……….MP Motz quickly introduced himself and his brief background.  Growing up on a ranch near Hanna, Alberta and a 35 year career in policing he grow up around firearms and carried one most of his adult life as a tool for his law enforcement job.  As the Official Opposition Deputy Shadow Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Motz is the ideal candidate to keep the current government in check when comes to firearms legislation.

……….Post introduction he mentioned that earlier in the day he had already had a meeting with the Calgary Police Service to discuss the gang crime issue.  He transitioned his opening to ensure that this issue is not a Rural versus Urban, East versus West, or even a Hunter versus Sport shooter concern, the issue of firearms legislation spans across the whole gamut of firearms owners.

……….MP Motz quoted lawyer Solomon Friedman who he quickly noted that as a former police officer had no love for lawyers, but noted that Friedman had done some very good and in-depth analysis on Bill C-71’s lack of crime control measures and not a single mention of how to stem gang gun violence, also the misuse and misrepresentation of selected statistically data to further a general political agenda instead of forwarding the interests of actual public safety.

……….While the majority of firearms owners are fairly well versed with the laws surround gun ownership, at every single one of these town halls I attend I learn something new every time.  Topics such as how far back the RCMP conducts background checks is actually not set to just five or ten years but could run the gambit of your whole life as it is right now.  Much vaunted statistic reference years such as 2008 and 2013 are selected for specific reasons to skew data on presentation to the ill-informed.  Selective numerical trickery some have said.  Points were made of monies promised to combat crime in urban areas such as Toronto, the lower mainland in Vancouver, etc… with little mention of rural crime, regardless zero dollars to date have been allocated.

……….A piece of information I found interesting is that if a firearm is recovered by law enforcement in the commission of a crime with the serial numbers removed, whether it be by filing, scrapping, welding, stamped out, acid etched, etc… regardless of where the gun came from ie: The United States, that firearm is designated as a domestically sourced firearm, further inflating the statistical number of “Canadian” firearms recovered after a crime.  Even though fairly simple methods are used to recover serial numbers by way of steel etching gels or liquids or electron microscopes.  Not new technology either and it is proven technology that has been used to identify stolen vehicles and car parts for many years.  This method works on steel, aluminum, copper, even some plastics.

……….The topic of straw purchases were brought up by MP Motz and this clearly brought a sharp reaction from the crowd.  The idea that law abiding firearms owners are legally purchasing guns to sell to non-PAL or R/PAL holders is a preposterous idea to begin with because the extreme risk to the originating buyer and how firearms are already tracked literally lays all responsibility of purchased firearms on that person regardless of who uses the firearm.  MP Motz even threw out the number one or two thousand straw purchases, but when pressed for origin or source of that number, it could not be produced or verified.  That number would also be tracked and recorded as well with little effort by law enforcement, it’s just a matter of collating the data.  Seeing all two million plus PAL and R/PAL holders in Canada have their records checked in CPIC systems (Canadian Police Information Centre) every 24 hours why would a legal firearms owners risk a straw buy/sell relationship, especially since black market and street prices for firearms is significantly lowered than retail in most cases?  There is no advantage.

……….Points were brought up again that I have heard over and over again at other venues, discussions, and town halls, of the frustration with how the R.C.M.P. (allegedly) over reach legally when classifying and enforcing the Firearms Act.  Many people at the town hall were vocal on this topic, as they have been everywhere else.  Again checks and balances need to be explored and proper over sight put in place as discussed.

……….Mental health, education, prevention, gangs, and guns were all discussed to varying degrees.  It was generally agreed that a multi-disciplinary approach needs to be taken and that solution needs to be longitudinal over many years for it to be truly lasting as opposed to ram-jamming legislation ahead of an election.  While some in attendance were weary of distributing more funds to law enforcement, others agreed that money put back into subjects of hunter education, conservation, and safety, and even putting firearms safety as program back into a school curriculum like it used to be fifty plus years ago in Canada would help demystify what firearms actually are.

……….The CSC were a great host for providing a venue for this town hall in their Cinema Range.  The CCFR were excellent in hosting and actively moderating the discussion so it didn’t go off the rails.  Keep in mind that there are 98 Conservative MPs working for Canadian Firearms Owners interests as well.

……….The last point I wanted to bring up was an interesting idea brought up was from a business owners perspective on supply and demand of firearms and how it might be a more effective approach for law enforcement, law makers, and business owners to developed a better system that benefits everyone.  How we get to that end state is up in the air but as firearms owners it’s also up to us.

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Reporting for TV-PressPass

Wally F.

Staff Writer and Reporter for TVPP. Background in Broadcast News Operations, Journalism, Criminology, and Firearms. An Infantry NCO for over fifteen years in the Canadian Army and still counting. Spent 8 months in Iraq working on my tan. I love my country, family, brother-in-arms, shooting sports, and positive responsible promotion of firearms and everything that surrounds it in Canada and beyond.