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Local gun owners hoping for registry changes

The private member's Bill C-391 before the House of Commons could take hunting rifles off the federal gun registry, something local gun users say they would welcome.
Jim Miller, president of the Bonnyville Shooting Sports Association, says the gun registry isn’t working.
Jim Miller, president of the Bonnyville Shooting Sports Association, says the gun registry isn’t working.

The private member's Bill C-391 before the House of Commons could take hunting rifles off the federal gun registry, something local gun users say they would welcome.

Jim Miller, president of the Bonnyville Shooting Sports Association, said he would support the bill to take the long-guns off the registry.

“It should have never been there to start with. All they did was criminalize every sports hunter, farmer, any recreational shooter for owning firearms,” Miller said.

He said he did not oppose the registry for handguns, but sees the long-gun registry as a waste.

“It hasn't solved the crime problem.”

The bill is unlikely to be passed before Parliament adjourns for summer.

With the current minority government, the bill would depend on the outcome of a vote in which NDP MPs are expected to vote freely, leaving the future of Bill C-391 uncertain. The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois are expected to vote against the bill.

Rollie Inman helped found the BSSA and is a former RCMP auxiliary constable. He has also taught the firearms safety course for 30 years. He agrees the registry is wasting taxpayer money.

“It's jeopardizing the law-abiding gun owners is what it's doing,” he said. He said while he registers all of his firearms, it's not fair to criminalize other gun owners for owning a hunting rifle.

He added that he thinks handguns should be registered, but that handguns have been registered since 1934.

“It hasn't done the job that it was intended to do. I would much rather see them put that money into enforcement on the street.”

Miller and Inman both noted that even without the registry a gun owner is required to be licensed. The licence itself would indicate to police if a person could be in possession of a firearm, without the paperwork of registering each firearm.

Mark Parsons, secretary for the BSSA, says he supports the bill that would remove long-guns from the registry.

While he doesn't support the registering of hunting rifles, he supports the licensing of gun owners and handguns.

Dale Kurek, a member of the local gun club, had a different take on the registry. He says he doesn't have a problem registering his guns and that he'd like to see the gun registry left alone.

“If the registry is cancelled, what is going to happen next time? Are the laws going to be even stricter? At least we know what we're dealing with right now,” he said. “Right now the system works as it is.”

The bill received its first reading on May 15 last year and its second reading in Parliament on Nov. 4.

Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner introduced the bill, which is expected to be voted on in September.