Bill C-71: sensible, for the most part

On March 20, Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tabled Bill C-71, which would alter the law surrounding firearms in this nation. On the whole, most of these proposed changes are sensible - if a little redundant – though it's unclear if they'll accomplish their stated goal, which is a reduction in gun violence. Background checks on those applying for or renewing their Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) would be extended from the previous five years, to the applicant's entire life. These checks screen police and court records of all license holders on a daily basis, through a process known as “continuous eligibility.” This is a step in the right direction, for many reasons, one of which being that suicide far outpaces homicide when it comes to gun deaths in Canada, and is typically committed with legally owned long-guns. Enhanced background checks might prevent someone in distress from having access to a quick and effective way of taking their own life.

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