Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure those listening to us that we have one of the toughest and most effective firearms registration systems in the world. It includes two specific measures.
For instance, when people want to acquire a firearm in this country, they must follow mandatory training to possess what is called a non-restricted firearm. If they want to acquire a handgun or a more sophisticated gun, they have to take additional training. I should know, because this measure was introduced in 2014 by the Conservative government of the day, and I was the minister of public safety at the time.
We have a registration system that is simple and safe, complete with many guidelines and procedures. It would take too long to explain it all this evening, as the training takes several hours. What I can tell Canadians, however, is that people who own legal firearms in Canada have a lot of rules they must obey. Before taking that training myself, I was a total neophyte. I was very surprised to learn how law-abiding gun owners are. They know that a firearm must be used very carefully. These are often people who enjoy hunting or sport shooting, the two main categories of gun enthusiasts.
As I was saying, the system is very simple. There are unrestricted weapons, restricted weapons and prohibited weapons. For the average Canadian, prohibited weapons are automatic weapons, or machine guns. These machine guns include what are known as military assault-type weapons, which have been prohibited in this country since 1979. Canadians can rest assured that in the legal firearms world, automatic weapons and military assault-type weapons are prohibited. No one can own one, in any way, shape or form.
This is what led the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, a credible public safety agency, to declare that Canada has adequate laws and that it is perfectly legitimate to own firearms. Furthermore, the former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Chris Lewis, who can be seen on English TV and who is an analyst on CTV, said that instead of targeting law-abiding gun owners, the government should deal effectively with the criminals who do not obey our existing laws.
I mentioned two police organizations during my four-minute speech because the current Liberal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is a former top cop. That makes me wonder why he did not heed the advice of his fellow officers.
Last week, he randomly and arbitrarily classified 1,600 firearms based on purely subjective criteria. One of my colleagues put it this way: Adding a skirt and spoiler combo to a Honda Civic does not make it a Formula 1 car. That is kind of what the minister is trying to do. He is using aesthetic and subjective criteria to classify firearms, and that is penalizing hundreds of thousands of honest citizens. He says he plans to buy back those firearms, which could cost a fortune and penalize what is clearly a highly legitimate industry, the recreation and tourism industry.
Why is the government not heeding the police's advice to go after illegal weapons, criminals and street gangs? Why is it going after scrupulously law-abiding people who are even more safety-oriented than the general population?