Fired up over firearms bill

A town hall meeting on gun control drew more than 200 residents on Saturday – as well as the police.

North Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative MP Mel Arnold hosted the meeting at Vernon's Prestige Inn. He was joined by Calgary MP Michelle Rempell. A uniformed RCMP member watched from the audience.

Arnold, who has previously called the federal government's Bill C-71 "a back-door gun registry," assured attendees that he is, first and foremost, a strong supporter for improving public safety.

However, his party has issues with the amendment to the Firearms Act.

Rempell asserted that the bill “penalizes people that are not the problem.”

Bill C-71 has passed through three readings in Parliament, and is now sitting with the Senate.

Following the information session, the floor was opened up for questions. More than a dozen people lined up to express their concern. The most repeated was the fear that law-abiding citizens will encounter more difficulty in purchasing legal guns.

It wasn’t all anti-Bill C71, however. A lone voice queried if this has become merely a "wedge issue."

A health worker expressed concern for the safety of those in her industry. 

Arnold reiterated he supports firearm regulations that “are in the best interest of public safety, and reducing firearm violence and criminality.

"We are all focused on that in the interest of public safety," he said.

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster and Vernon Coun. Scott Anderson, interim leader of the BC Conservative Party, also attended the meeting.

– by Cindy Rhyason

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