Among the tables at the Summer Gun and Hobby Show, held on July 23 in the Gold Rush Inn’s conference room in downtown Whitehorse, was a booth set up by Yukon MP Brendan Hanley.
The MP was on hand to discuss Bill C-21, a piece of legislation with major implications for legal handgun ownership.
Bill C-21, given first reading by Parliament in late May and second reading on June 23, will halt the transfer of handguns and make other changes to the country’s firearms regulations.
Hanley did not participate in the second reading vote on the bill.
Hanley said his time spent at the gun show was a good opportunity for hearing peoples’ views on the proposed legislation.
“They feel they are being targeted and that they are not the problem,” Hanley said.
Hanley said specific concerns about the earlier firearms restrictions, including those that came into effect this May requiring new record-keeping requirements for businesses dealing in firearms and license verification for private sales, didn’t come up as much.
Hanley said his abstention from the earlier vote on Bill C-21 was due to things that are unclear in the bill’s current form. He said questions remain about how the inheritance of handguns would work and an exemption for “elite sports shooters” that he said has unclear criteria.
Hanley said he is for doing whatever can be done to control violent crime involving handguns, but said he is not sure the bill is the best way forward. He said he is hoping to hear more from Yukoners with any points of view on the issue and also wants an ongoing conversation with Public Safety Minister Marco Mendecino in order to have some of his outstanding questions about the bill answered. The Yukon MP did not rule out abstaining from the third reading vote if he doesn’t have some of his questions answered.
Donovan Dewis, an organizer of the gun show in Whitehorse, said the show went really well overall and he thinks Hanley got some good information through his involvement in it.
Dewis said the new Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) verification doesn’t require the same details about the firearms being sold or transferred that sales from stores do now. He said it went smoothly with most buyers and sellers at the show able to verify the validity of licenses online. Some had to call the Canadian Firearms Programs office the Monday after the show.
Dewis circulated a pre-written letter to be sent to Mendecino, Hanley and Conservative Party MP Raquel Dancho who represents the Kildonan-St. Paul riding in Manitoba and has been outspokenly against Bill C-21.
“Your decision to ‘freeze’ the lawful sale of private property [handguns] amongst RCMP-vetted and federally-licensed firearm owners as a method to prevent drug dealers, gang members and other violent criminals from shooting people is bizarre, to be polite,” the letter’s opening paragraph reads.
Dewis said he received about 225 of the letters signed by attendees at the gun show.
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com