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Changes to Bill 194 prevent Saskatchewan municipalities from banning firearms

Click to play video: 'Changes to Bill 194 prevent Saskatchewan municipalities from banning firearms' Changes to Bill 194 prevent Saskatchewan municipalities from banning firearms
WATCH: The province made amendments to Bill 194, which will prevent Saskatchewan municipalities from creating bylaws banning firearms – Jun 16, 2020

The Saskatchewan government has made changes to Bill 194 to better protect law-abiding firearm owners in the province, it says.

It avoids letting municipalities across Saskatchewan ban firearm and handgun ownership through bylaws.

“What this prevents is a number of things. One, it prevents a patchwork across the province so that we don’t have different rules in different municipalities,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said.

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“Second, it does take us another step towards ensuring that we are not only protecting the rights of law-abiding firearm owners in the province, but doing right by the Saskatchewan people.”

In May, the Canadian government passed a law prohibiting nine types of firearms, including M16, AR-10, AR-15 rifles and M4 carbine, along with M14 and Vz58 rifles.

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Moe said the feds also indicated plans to allow municipalities across the country to make their own legislation surrounding the ban of handguns and other firearms.

“We will take every opportunity to ensure status quo does remain. This isn’t federal jurisdiction. They have chosen to make the decision to move forward on, essentially, a firearm ban that is expanding day-by-day by stealth on their website,” Moe said.

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“It’s extremely concerning, not only the introduction of this ban, (but) the fact that they have not consulted with provinces on this ban and certainly haven’t consulted on the expansion of the firearms being added.”

He said law-abiding residents are not the issue, and has communicated that with the federal government.

“The issue is combating illegal gun crime in this nation, wherever you are. Illegal gun crime in this province, at least, is by far and away firearms that acquired by stealing them or firearms that are smuggled,” Moe said.

“Poaching and banning legal firearms from owners is not the answer to the problem…It would be very wise for the federal government to shift their focus towards where the actual challenges are.”

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It’s a message shared by Saskatchewan’s Government Relations Minister Lori Carr.

“The Government of Saskatchewan prefers to take the position of encouraging education and safety with a focus on current enforcement efforts, while taking a tough stance on criminals who are breaking the existing laws, rather than further restricting legitimate firearms ownership by law-abiding residents,” Carr said.

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said he has discussed the issue of banning handguns at Board of Police Commissioners monthly meeting, but believes crime in the city relates more to gaps in support systems that address housing, mental health, addictions, poverty and racism.

“The Saskatoon Police Service has identified that handguns are not the driver of the violence that has been affecting our neighbourhoods,” Clark said. “I am not aware of any municipality in Saskatchewan that has been entertaining a handgun ban.”

The Miscellaneous Municipal Statutes Amendment Act 2019, Bill 194, was introduced in fall 2019.

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