Hunting rifles are seen on display in a glass case at a gun and rifle store in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. Federal ministers played down notions Tuesday that Senate committee amendments to the Liberal gun bill would hobble the original aims of the legislation. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Ministers appear unfazed by Senate changes to federal gun bill

The bill would expand the scope of background checks on those who want to acquire guns

Federal ministers played down notions Tuesday that Senate committee amendments to the Liberals’ gun bill would hobble the legislation.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale suggested the government’s intentions for Bill C-71 will be reflected in the final version of the legislation, despite efforts by Conservative senators to cut provisions they say penalize law-abiding gun owners.

The government bill introduced last year would expand the scope of background checks on those who want to acquire guns.

Instead of just the five years immediately preceding a licence application, personal history questions would cover the applicant’s entire lifetime.

The bill would also force gun retailers to keep records of firearms inventory and sales, and require the purchaser of a hunting rifle or shotgun to present a firearms licence, while the seller would have to ensure its validity.

The legislation has been criticized by gun-control advocates as too weak, while some firearms owners have called the bill an attempt to revive the ill-fated long-gun registry.

READ MORE: B.C. gets $5.3 million to work against gangs and guns

A Senate committee adopted changes Monday that would remove the requirement for lifetime background checks, drop proposed restrictions on transporting restricted or prohibited firearms, and retain political oversight of firearm classification decisions.

“While this legislation remains weak and needlessly penalizes some lawful firearms owners, Conservative senators believe that these amendments provide some measure of improvement,” said Tory Sen. Don Plett.

“Conservatives believe in focusing gun-control efforts on combating the criminal use of firearms, targeting cross-border firearms smuggling and on measures that will genuinely enhance public safety without gratuitously targeting lawful firearms owners.”

Independent Sen. Andre Pratte said the committee’s changes considerably weakened the bill. ”I hope that the full Senate will defeat these amendments,” he tweeted. “Public safety depends on it.”

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale echoed the sentiment Tuesday.

“What has just happened is obviously not helpful but the process is not done yet, and I look forward to a more positive outcome at the end.”

If the full Senate adopts changes to the legislation, those amendments would have to be considered in the House of Commons, setting off ”the ping pong back and forth” between the two chambers, Goodale said.

Such exchanges have already taken place on other bills, with the government effectively winning the day, he suggested. “This is kind of like watching sausage being made, and it’s not over till it’s over.”

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Mandatory spaying and neutering looms for outdoor Chemainus cats

North Cowichan considers bylaw to control stray and feral cat issues

Fisheries and oceans minister spends Earth Day in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Jonathan Wilkinson in riding to support candidate Michelle Corfield

Climate action can’t be a partisan issue, say Greens

Green Party of Canada celebrated Earth Day early in Nanaimo

Editorial: Climate change is a good reason to cast a vote

Different choices around climate action and inaction will be on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Climate action can’t be a partisan issue, say Greens

Green Party of Canada celebrated Earth Day early in Nanaimo

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

Anti-immigration party is on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Opposing candidate says National Citizens Alliance’s participation ‘highly problematic’

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Most Read