Guy Lahaye says with tightly regulated federal laws around hunters and sport shooters, there are no need for additional, “poorly duplicated provincial laws”.
Lahaye writes in his letter that the NPRGC is concerned about increasing gun violence from gangs and criminals, but Bill 4 is a “misguided attempt at dealing with the issue by penalizing law-abiding citizens under the guise of public safety”.
“Because they cannot get a handle on that violence, and neither can the feds, they create a bunch of regulations on the backs of legal, law-abiding firearm owners. And that’s to tell the rest of the province or country, ‘we’re doing something.’”
Bill 4 uses data from the Illegal Firearms Task Force report from 2017 to respond to the public threat posed by illegal firearms.
RCMP Criminal Operations assistant commissioner Dwayne McDonald says the recommendations on illegal and imitation firearms will provide police with tools to advance investigations and combat gun violence.
“Denying criminals access to these weapons, as well as further regulating armoured vehicles, body armour, and aftermarket compartments, are key steps in enhancing public safety,” says McDonald.
In his letter, Lahaye identifies some key issues with the formation of the bill. First, Lahaye says there should have been consultation with the BC Wildlife Federation, First Nations communities, and gun range owners. Instead, he says there was none.
Lahaye believes many of the small gun clubs in the province would be forced to close by the “heavy-handed bureaucratic restrictions”, and if those ranges are forced to close, that eliminates opportunities for safe firearm training and use.
“One of the things you want as a hunter is an ethical kill, so accuracy and proficiency come into play. Shooting a firearm is a skill, just like using a hammer. If you’re not careful, you hammer your thumb. Good practice makes for good accuracy.”
Lahaye believes Bill 4 should be fair and equitable legislation towards the safety of all British Columbians, and it shouldn’t be on the backs of law-abiding firearms owners.
“We are good law followers as Canadians, and a lot of times we don’t push back when we should. But at the end of the day, if the gangs are not following the federal regulations, are we silly enough to think they’re going to follow the provincial regulations?”
Bill 4 passed the legislature on March 22nd.