A Calgary gun shop and shooting range owner is firing back at the new federal gun law.
James Cox, who owns The Shooting Edge, has joined forces with Alberta gun manufacturer Arms Sterling International to fight the ban in court.
“It’s not fair as a gun owner,” Cox said. “As a Canadian, it’s not fair.”
The legal challenge contends the ban on 1,500 types of assault-style firearms violates the constitutional principles of rule of law, constitutionalism and democracy.
On May 1, the government announced the ban through an order in council, which is effectively an executive order issued by Cabinet.
While that is legal, Cox added that didn’t give anyone any chance to debate the ban.
“Anything that a government does, that affects hundreds of thousands of Canadians at one time — with no parliamentary debate — is just wrong.”
Cox and various gun groups argue the rules are also inconsistent, effectively targeting firearms based on how they look rather than because of what they can do, while leaving some nearly-identical weapons legal.
They also point out since the original list of banned rifles came out in early May, hundreds of more guns and ammo have been added to that list.
“There’s so much overreach in this,” Cox said.
“Every time we turn around there’s another aspect that we have not even thought of.”
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, however, has insisted the wording of the order in council does not prohibit certain hunting rifles.
The prime minister has said the ultimate goal of the ban is to keep Canadians safe, but Cox doesn’t agree.
“It’s not lawful what they did,” he said. “And just dressing up during a pandemic saying there’s some imminent threat to society isn’t reasonable considering there’s been zero deaths due to AR-15s in Canada. Period.”
Global News reached out the RCMP, which reclassifies the gun, but did not hear back by the time this article was published.
In an emailed statement, the federal government said it was “aware of the proceedings,” adding it’s confident the order in council is both reasonable and constitutional.
“At the earliest opportunity, we will introduce legislation to allot additional resources and introduce stronger penalties for law enforcement and border services officers to help stop the flow of weapons over our borders and target the illegal trafficking of firearms through criminal diversion,” press secretary for the Minister of Public Safety, Mary-Liz Power said.
“We will also introduce stricter secure storage laws to help prevent the theft of firearms. We also plan to empower police, doctors, victims of domestic abuse, and families to be able to raise a flag on those who pose a risk to themselves or an identifiable group through red flag laws.”
Cox said he is hoping for some sort of injunction until the case is heard in court. He’s also optimistic that some of the provisions of the ban will be overturned.
In the meantime, he said he’ll keep up the pressure.
“We have to fight this fight.
“If we just sit back, as firearms owners, even people who just believe in democracy, and let them do this, it sets a bad precedent.”
With files from Global’s Amanda Connolly