Law & Policy

Official Party Platforms in Regard to Firearms

I had the pleasure of doing a “sit down and chat about guns and politics” with Kate from Ammo Supply this week. Check it out:

I wanted to expand on that a little bit with the actual text from party platforms as far as firearms are concerned…

The Conservatives:

This comes from their policy declaration in November 2, 2013.

96. Firearms

A Conservative Government is committed to cost-effective gun control programs designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals while respecting the rights of law-abiding Canadians to own and use firearms responsibly.

Measures will include: mandatory minimum sentences for the criminal use of firearms; strict monitoring of high-risk individuals; increased enforcement and prosecution of smuggling; safe storage provisions; firearms safety training; a certification screening system for all those wishing to acquire firearms legally; and putting more law enforcement officers on our streets.

We recognize the legitimacy of private ownership of firearms and will resist any domestic or international pressure to the contrary.

From the Conservative Party 2015 campaign plan:

The Penalties for the Criminal Possession of Firearms Act will restore mandatory minimum penalties for the illegal possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm, such as fully automatic weapons, sawed-off rifles, or handguns, for the purpose of committing a serious offence or in a place where there is a real risk of harm to innocent bystanders. This will apply the full force of the law to offenders who engage in serious criminal behavior while exempting law-abiding gun owners who store their weapons legally.

The Liberals:

There’s been a lot of good deconstruction of this platform already. I’ll let the document speak for itself.

We will take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets.

We will take pragmatic action to make it harder for criminals to get, and use, handguns and assault weapons. We will:

  • repeal changes made by Bill C-42 that allow restricted and prohibited weapons to be freely transported without a permit, and we will put decision-making about weapons restrictions back in the hands of police, not politicians;
  • provide $100 million each year to the provinces and territories to support guns and gangs police task forces to take illegal guns off our streets and reduce gang violence;
    modify the membership of the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to include knowledgeable law enforcement officers, public health advocates, representatives from women’s groups, and members of the legal community;
  • require enhanced background checks for anyone seeking to purchase a handgun or other restricted firearm;
  • require purchasers of firearms to show a license when they buy a gun, and require all sellers of firearms to confirm that the license is valid before completing the sale;
  • require firearms vendors to keep records of all firearms inventory and sales to assist police in investigating firearms trafficking and other gun crimes;
  • immediately implement the imported gun marking regulations that have been repeatedly delayed by Stephen Harper;
  • and
    as part of our investment in border infrastructure, invest in technologies to enhance our border guards’ ability to detect and halt illegal guns from the United States entering into Canada.

We will not create a new national long-gun registry to replace the one that has been dismantled.

We will ensure that Canada becomes a party to the international Arms Trade Treaty.

The NDP:

The only reference to firearms in the NDP official 2015 election platform is contained in their safe communities section:

The NDP’s plan for safer communities starts with an investment in more front-line police officers.

It is boots on the ground that help to fight crime, not empty Conservative promises.

Stephen Harper’s plan is failing and despite years of his ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric, the number of police officers per capita in Canada has been on the decline.

For example, this past spring Stephen Harper promised the people of Surrey, BC, additional RCMP support to help address the city’s increasing concerns over guns and gang violence, but he has failed to deliver.

To help police protect our communities, the NDP will:

Work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous communities to provide stable, ongoing funding to put 2,500 new officers on the streets and keep them there.

In addition, the NDP will boost community safety in Canada by:
Providing the Canada Border Services Agency with additional support to make our borders more efficient for travellers, and secure for all Canadians. Ensuring that communities have the resources they need to invest in crime prevention and anti-gang programs – especially those designed for youth – by investing an additional $30 million.

Giving police the tools they need to do their job by tackling the backlog in the Canadian Police Information Centre database, known as CPIC, a national tool for police and prosecutors to check the criminal history of suspects and those charged with or convicted of new offences.

The Libertarians:

While I don’t think the Libertarian party is about to form a government anytime soon, they’re position is one of a kind.

Gun Ownership:

The official position of the Libertarian Party of Canada is to remove the prohibitions and legislative obstacles for the ownership of guns by peaceful citizens for the purposes of recreation, self-defence and hunting.

If elected, the Libertarian Party of Canada would:

  • Repeal section 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code to make responsible gun possession legal
  • Revise the legal definition of weapon and firearm to reflect that guns are tools when in the hands of qualified civilians
  • Eliminate the provincial and territorial Chief Firearms Offices as a cost saving mechanism and transfer responsible gun ownership to a certification based system
  • Eliminate the unfair search and seizure provisions under the Firearms Act and reverse the onus provisions so that citizens are not labelled criminals before their day in court

The Green Party makes zero reference to firearms in their 2015 policy document, but as mentioned in the video, have gone on record recently with a surprisingly positive position.

That’s it! Make sure you vote!

Alberta, Canada: The perfect place to play with black rifles, tactical shotguns, and all manner of other fun gear. Plenty of wilderness, and plenty of toys to try out.