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

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake returns to Langford

Annual fundraising event held from April 26 to 28

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read