Firearms Bill C-21

Dear Constituents, Hunters, and Firearms Owners and Enthusiasts,

I would like to address your concerns over the federal Liberal government’s Bill C-21, An Act to amend
certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms).

First and foremost, I am 100 percent committed to defending the interests, rights, and private property
of all law-abiding gun owners. Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon is filled with thousands of people who
enjoy sport shooting, hunting, and collecting firearms.

The plain reality is that most gun crimes in Canada are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Taking
legal firearms away from law-abiding Canadians does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs who
obtain their guns illegally. Instead of targeting law-abiding Canadians and firearm retailers, the federal
government should be investing in police anti-gang and gun units and the Canada Border Services Agency
to provide law enforcement with the resources they need to stop illegal smuggling operations and get
dangerous criminals and gangs off our streets.

One of Bill C-21's provisions allows municipalities to ban handguns. It is important to understand that this
will only affect licenced firearms owners. Allowing municipalities to create bylaw restrictions that directly
attach to a licence does nothing to combat actual crime. Criminals do not have licences and do not follow
federal laws, never mind local bylaws. Many law enforcement officials, from the current RCMP
commissioner to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, agree that this will not reduce crime.
Resources and efforts should be focused on border enforcement and funding for the police. It is time to
start targeting those who break the law as opposed to those who follow the law.

I was proud to jointly second Bill C-238, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (possession of unlawfully
imported firearms), which was introduced by my colleague MP Bob Saroya. Unfortunately, this Bill was
defeated when it came up for a vote on January 27. It shameful that the Liberals, alongside their Green
and NDP enablers, voted against and defeated Bill C-238, a Conservative bill that would have imposed
tougher sentences for criminals caught smuggling or who are found in possession of illegal firearms. The
Trudeau Liberals’ decision to vote against this Bill shows they are not serious about stopping dangerous
criminals from possessing and acquiring illegal guns.

Shortly after they tabled C-21, the Liberals introduced Bill C-22, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and
the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Included in this Bill is the elimination of a number of mandatory
minimum penalties for firearms offences that keep communities safe. It is perplexing as Justin Trudeau
keeps demonizing law-abiding firearms owners, while introducing new measures that actually reduce
sentencing for criminals charged with illegal gun offences. His government is sending a confusing,
hypocritical message on crime.

When it comes to measures that will actually improve public safety, as opposed to the naked political
posturing now on display by the federal Liberal government, the Conservatives have a plan that includes:
• Support for police anti-gang and gun units;
• Youth prevention programs;
• Action on rural crime;
• Tougher sentences for violent offenders;
• Support for courts and prosecutors;
• CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force and improved enforcement at our borders;
• Increased access to mental health and addictions treatments; and,
• Investments in programs to support victims of domestic violence.

Moreover, a Conservative government led by Erin O’Toole would:
• Repeal C-71, C-21, and the May 2020 Order in Council;
• Restore mandatory minimum sentences that keep violent gang members off the streets;
• Significantly increase funding for border security to crack down on illegal firearms smuggling; and,
• Review existing firearms legislation to ensure it focuses on dealing with criminals rather than
making life more difficult for law-abiding firearms owners.

Conservatives are committed to ensuring that Canadians are safe and secure in their homes and in their
communities. We strongly believe that those who pose a risk to themselves or others should not be in
possession of firearms. This provision already exists under Section 5 of the Firearms Act.

Furthermore, the federal Liberals have gone beyond targeting legal gun owners and are now targeting
innocent Canadians who partake in recreational Airsoft. The revised definition of a “replica firearm”
effectively bans all Airsoft guns and eliminates a sport that many Canadians enjoy. It also puts at risk
hundreds of jobs at Airsoft retailers and service providers. The federal government should work with the
Airsoft community to ensure sensible regulations, like marking Airsoft gun barrels with bright colours, are
implemented rather than an outright ban. It is incredibly shameful that the federal Liberals are targeting
both law-abiding gun owners and those who partake in Airsoft, many of whom are younger Canadians
who enjoy Airsoft as a recreational pastime.

If the government is willing to attack a recreational sport such as Airsoft, how long before they turn their
attention directly to hunting itself? Hunting is a long-standing tradition in Canada for both Indigenous
and non-Indigenous Canadians. Yet as we know, whether you are a collector, sport shooter, hunter or
now, even an Airsoft participant, the Trudeau government's ideological goal is to see these activities and
ways of life erased from Canada. We saw that the May 1, 2020 Order-in-Council targeted all sorts of
firearms, including popular hunting rifles of various models. I will always support hunting for it is an
integral part of the historic and social fabric of Canada, of British Columbia, and of Mission—Matsqui—
Fraser Canyon. It is time the federal government stop targeting law-abiding firearms owners and start
implementing actual measures to address crime.

My colleague Shannon Stubbs, the Shadow Minister for Public Safety, spoke last month during the Second
Reading debate of Bill C-21, rightfully pointing out that Bill C-21 “effectively trades on Canadians’ fear and
safety for short-term political gain” by clamping down on law-abiding, licenced gun owners. You can
watch MP Stubbs’s full speech on Bill C-21 here.

Conservatives have and will always support common-sense firearms policies that keep guns out of the
hands of dangerous criminals. Alongside my Conservative colleagues, I call on the Trudeau Liberals to
ensure Canada’s firearms legislation is based on evidence, not ideology, and respects the rights of
Canadians. Unless a complete legislative overhaul is done, rest assured that I will vote against Bill C-21,
as written.

Lastly, please find enclosed a petition in opposition to Bill C-21. I encourage you to collect signatures and
add your voice in opposition to this flawed federal Liberal legislation. An electronic copy of this petition
is also available for download on my website,


Brad Vis, MP
Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon