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'Leave it the way it is': Gun owners want firearms law left alone

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2018-04-04 Gary Moore
a man standing in front of a car posing for the camera: Craig Steeves of Jemseg was one of the people to raise concerns about proposed changes to Canada's firearms law. © Gary Moore/CBC Craig Steeves of Jemseg was one of the people to raise concerns about proposed changes to Canada's firearms law.

Some gun owners in New Brunswick aren't too happy with Ottawa's plans to tighten federal gun laws and would like to see government leave them alone. 

At a town hall in Gagetown on Tuesday, people questioned changes in Bill C-71, which the federal government tabled on March 20.

"Leave it the way it is," said gun owner Howard Wright of Cambridge Narrows, who's concerned with changes to background checks.

a group of people in a room: About 60 people showed up to a town hall in Gagetown on Tuesday to meet with MP Karen Ludwig. Bill C-71 was one of the topics that was discussed during the meeting. © Gary Moore/CBC About 60 people showed up to a town hall in Gagetown on Tuesday to meet with MP Karen Ludwig. Bill C-71 was one of the topics that was discussed during the meeting.

Background checks currently only look at the previous five years when someone applies for a firearms licence.

Provisions in the proposed bill would change that to examine a person's entire life history for potential red flags. 

"I just see these crazy ideas coming up, instead of five years, it goes back to when you're born," Wright said. 

Knee-jerk reaction

The town hall wasn't specifically about changes to the firearms law, but the topic was raised a couple of times by people in the room. 

Craig Steeves of Jemseg wondered if the government is acting on what's happening in the United States and not at home.

"Is this a knee-jerk reaction for what's the gong show going on down in the states?" he asked.

"We don't have the same problem with gun laws in Canada."

a person standing in a room: New Brunswick Southwest MP, Karen Ludwig held a town hall in Gagetown on Tuesday to talk about a number of issues in the riding. © Gary Moore/CBC New Brunswick Southwest MP, Karen Ludwig held a town hall in Gagetown on Tuesday to talk about a number of issues in the riding.

Liberal MP Karen Ludwig, who represents the riding of New Brunswick Southwest, held the town hall to speak with constituents about any issues and concerns in the area. 

Ludwig wasn't surprised that Bill C-71, the gun bill, was on the minds of people in the area, but said the timing of the review isn't related to recent shootings in America. 

"If someone was to look back at our 2015 campaign, looking at a review of the firearms legislation was part of that — it didn't happen overnight."

Ludwig said she's listening to what people are saying in her riding and is glad the changes will be studied by an all-party committee.

"These are national pieces of legislation that have broad, broad implications."

"I think the best options, since we were not able to debate it in the House of Commons, was to get it before an all-party committee to study."

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