OTTAWA — Gun-control activists pressed senators Monday to move more quickly on firearms legislation, a few days before the 29th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre that left 14 women dead in Montreal.
Bill C-71, which was adopted in the House of Commons on Sept. 24, has not yet reached a second reading in the Senate.
The legislation allows authorities to investigate a someone’s entire personal history if they want to purchase a gun, as opposed to being restricted to the previous five years.
It also changes the rules governing the transportation, transfer and registration of firearms.
Heidi Rathjen, spokesperson for the gun-control group, said the bill is a “strict minimum” and needs to be adopted into law as soon as possible.
Serge St-Arneault, brother of a woman who was murdered during the Polytechnique shooting, asked senators to resist what he called the “gun lobby.”
“Do not compromise,” St-Arneault told reporters. “And show … how to stand up when we are not afraid of the gun lobby.”
The Liberal government launched consultations in October on stricter gun policies, such as banning all handguns and assault weapons in the country.
Rathjen said she thinks its possible for the government to pass more gun laws before the next election, scheduled in 2019.
Independent Senator Andre Pratte, the sponsor for Bill C-71 in the Senate, said he understands peoples’ impatience but said the process is progressing properly.
He said he is confident the bill will move to committee before the holidays and be ready for final adoption in the spring.
“It’s clear people are impatient, and it involves peoples’ lives, so we would like it to be adopted as quickly as possible,” he said.
Pratte said the legislation is supported by the independent senators but that the Conservative caucus is “strongly opposed.”
Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press