March 10, 1994
For Immediate Release
BREITKREUZ RE-OPENS GUN CONTROL DEBATE
Garry Breitkreuz, MP for Yorkton-Melville promised a rally of over 1200 gun owners in Preeceville, Sask. last Friday night that he would be their voice in Ottawa. Today, Breitkreuz made good that promise by standing in the House of Commons and asking the Minister of Justice a question on gun control. This is the first question on gun control to be asked by any MP in this session of Parliament.
Garry went right to the heart of the gun control legislation when he asked, "There are two types of gun owners in Canada, law-abiding citizens and criminals. According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics less than one tenth of one percent of registered handgun owners commit a crime with their guns. Could the Minister explain how putting more controls on responsible gun owners better protects law-abiding citizens?" The Honourable Allan Rock, Minister of Justice responded by saying the government supported the existing gun control laws and described them as being "reasonable controls".
In a follow-up question Breitkreuz asked, "Saskatchewan gun owners are not against safety and training in the use of firearms. However, they asked me to ask the Minister, how does putting more restrictions on law-abiding and responsible gun owners in any way deter criminals from acquiring guns by illegal means? Mr. Rock responded by saying, "...that weapons used in criminal offenses are often stolen from lawful gun owners who keep them improperly (stored) or in insecure circumstances and do not look after them with a reasonable degree of prudence."
Unfortunately, the rules of the House of Commons do not permit a further supplementary question, if they had Garry said he would have liked to ask the following question, "Mr. Minister do you mean to say that if a criminal breaks into my house that he will decide not to steal my guns because they are locked in my gun case? What a ridiculous assumption to base such onerous laws on law-abiding citizens. Is there anyone in the Yorkton-Melville constituency who would agree with the Minister? If I am going to be your voice in Ottawa, then I have to know if the Minister right or are the hundreds of people who attended the Preeceville rally right?" he asked.
Another issue often raised by supporters of the gun control laws is that it will reduce the number of suicides. Garry answers this concern with a quote from a Liberal backbencher from Saskatchewan who said at a gun control briefing on the Hill, "Gun laws are becoming as complex a tax laws and what the government is doing is making criminals out of law-abiding citizens. If you think that storing a gun in one room and bullets in another is going to stop someone from committing suicide, you are terribly mistaken. Its only going to slow them down by about thirty seconds."
Breitkreuz vowed to continue to press the Minister for real answers and real solutions as long as his constituents feel he is on the right track. Garry asked, "If the Minister's points are valid, I would sure like to know. I would ask all constituents who have an opinion on this issue to call or write and tell me if they think the gun control legislation is as "reasonable" as the Minister says it is. I will present your letters or your petitions to the Minister personally. If you want your petition read in the House of Commons, please call my office in Yorkton to get the detailed instructions on how to prepare your petition."
Breitkreuz has requested a meeting with the Minister of Justice to deliver two petitions and to discuss over twenty specific concerns raised by gun owners in Saskatchewan. Garry has also written to Premier Romanow, all MPs in Saskatchewan and all Reform MPs in Canada asking for their advice and help to get a special enquiry into the implementation of the government's gun control laws.
Breitkreuz concluded by saying, "I think the gun laws in this country were designed for problems in downtown Toronto, not for the good people living in rural Saskatchewan. Its time we stand up for what we believe. Its time we stand up for what we think is fair and reasonable. Many of these rules just don't make sense! If you think the same way and if we really want to change these laws, then I ask for your letters and your continued support - lets see if democracy really works in this country."
For more information please call:
Yorkton: Phil DeVos, Executive Assistant - (306) 782-3309
Ottawa: Dennis Young, Parliamentary Assistant - (613) 992-4394