Mr. Jim Hawkes (Calgary West) moved
that Bill C-417, an act to amend the Criminal Code (gun control), be read the second time and referred to a legislative committee in the Departmental envelope.
He said: Mr. Speaker, thank you and the members who are here this afternoon when we do not have to be here on a Friday. There are so many who are in support of this bill.
This is one of those bills that began with a telephone call about three months ago from someone who is a gun collector who informed me that due to a legal interpretation of an old law the situation had changed rather dramatically.
For many years under the existing law, people who purchased a restricted weapon would bring it to a fire arms registrar for examination and they would be given a temporary conveyance permit to take it home. That had gone on for years. All of a sudden there was an interpretation that the fire arms registrar could not give them the weapon to take back home. On the surface that may not seem like a problem but it is a problem and creates a somewhat unsafe situation.
This House spent many hours over a couple of years dealing with changes to the Criminal Code to make the gun situation in this country safer. We said in clear unequivocal terms that anyone who wished to possess a restricted weapon must provide safe storage for that weapon as part of the conditions of a permit. There could be examination of that safe storage and so on.
All of a sudden we have a change in legal interpretation that keeps those guns away from that safe storage. It has taken up to six months for permanent registration certificates to be issued. This puts responsibility on the part of the fire arms registrar in many situations in this country and in particular in rural situations where there is just not adequate storage available for the quantity of weapons that begin to pile up.
What I propose today is something I asked the House of Commons legal branch to draft that would give a permissive power to a fire arms registrar to allow someone to take that fire arm back to the safe storage when he or she already have a permit to own a restricted weapon which means they have safe storage.
It would not apply to people purchasing a weapon of this kind for the first time and it is not compulsory for the fire arms registrar tell someone to take it home. It is permissive and a person can fill out a form that would allow that gun to move from the fire arms registrar office to the owner's place when there is safe storage for the weapon.
I do not think it is worth the time of the House to have three hours of debate and a votable motion at the end of that time. I think the committee in its wisdom decided that this is not one of the items that should come to a vote.
It leaves the House in the position of deciding unanimously to make this change which we could do today through all stages and if the House was predisposed to do that. I have copies of some minor changes which have been recommended to me by the Department of Justice that would make the bill work just a little bit better as an amendment to the Criminal Code. Those are prepared. I have them in sufficient quantity for everybody in the House. If anyone would like them I would ask a page to come and make them available to them. There is no point in going through those changes unless we find out the will of the House. I think it might be in order to allow members who wish to speak to this to do so. Perhaps they could indicate whether they think it is a good idea for the House act. If we were to move it through all stages this afternoon, it could go to the Senate the first part of next week and pass through there relatively quickly as well. It is an administrative change that I think makes sense for everybody.
June 10, 1993
It simply wants to enable restricted weapons to be stored in a safer situation than the law allows currently and that was the will of the House historically and overwhelmingly so. This would just extend that principle.
I invite my colleagues to make comments and indicate whether there is a predisposition on the part of the House to do this unanimously and put it in place as quickly as possible to take that danger away. I thank the House for its attention.
Topic: PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic: CRIMINAL CODE