Late last month, the RCMP made changes to a national gun database prohibiting two kinds of semi-automatic rifles. Gun owners are up in arms; so is the Public Safety Minister, although he’s powerless to reverse the ban (for now).
What isn’t clear is how police will enforce that rule if they no longer know who in Canada owns those guns.
According to a redacted copy of the national firearms database made before long-gun data was deleted, obtained by Global News under access-to-information laws, this ban appears to affect about 8,000 rifles – just over 60 per cent of them in B.C. and Alberta.
Compensating all affected owners would cost about $8.8 million.
But that data reflects the long-gun registry data as it was in mid-2012. Assuming the ban sticks, how would police remove all 8,000 rifles from circulation within two years?
The reclassification is the first time since the deletion of the long gun registry that a non-restricted firearm has been prohibited. Previously, the RCMP would have used the registry to trace affected firearms and compensate affected owners.
How will it work now?
That leaves out any plan to actually enforce the rule, however – an inability critics of the long-gun registry’s abolishment predicted at the time.