Firearms Owners Association
The Senate of Canada
April 29, 2009
Edward B. Hudson, Secretary
Dear Mr. Hudson,
It was a pleasure to meet you and your colleague in Saskatoon on April 15th, and I thank you for your follow-up correspondence dated April 21st, 2009 concerning the licensing of firearms owners and the registration of firearms including long-guns.
As you know, the Conservative Party of Canada is the only federal political party in Canada that is committed to dismantling the costly and ineffective long-gun registry. However, I must take issue with some of the views expressed in your letter.
You say your organization has grown "disillusioned" with the Conservative Party of Canada and the federal government over this issue, and you object to the continuation and enhancement of licensing requirements for firearms owners. However, the Conservative Party has never suggested that we would remove licensing requirements for gun owners. The requirement to register long-guns does nothing to enhance public safety, despite costing Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars. That is why the Conservative government committed to eliminate the long-gun registry while preserving licensing requirements. We introduced legislation to that effect in the House of Commons during the last session of parliament, but it was blocked by the opposition parties.
At present, there are two bills before Parliament that aim to eliminate the long-gun registry: M.P. Garry Breitkreuz, whose excellent work on this issue you cited, introduced a Private Member's Bill in the House of commons; and the government has introduced Bill S-5 in the Senate. I believe this two-front effort maximizes the likelihood of a positive outcome. It is the government's view that Bill S-5 offers the best chance to lessen restrictions on responsible firearm's owners.
Under Bill S-5, honest and responsible citizens will continue to have access to firearms. The very purpose of federal licensing requirements is to allow those citizens who are proven to be honest and responsible to own and use firearms. Only those who are demonstrably not honest and responsible stand to be denied such permission.
As you know, the Conservative government holds only a minority of seats in the House of Commons, and all the other parties are opposed to any changes whatsoever to registration and licensing requirements. I therefore beseech you to direct your lobbying efforts at those opposition parliamentarians who stand in the way of this legislation.
Thank you again for writing on this issue, which is so important to both of us.
[ signed by David Tkachuk ]
Senator David Tkachuk