A longtime volunteer and board member of the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation (SWF) has been named Saskatchewan’s next chief firearms officer (CFO).
Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said Robert Freberg will take over the position after an exhaustive and competitive process.
“We were very happy with the response we received to the job posting for this position,” Tell said Tuesday in a statement.
“Ultimately, we felt that based on his experience, Mr. Freberg was best suited to serve in this position and to represent the interests of the Saskatchewan firearms community.”
Freberg is the first person appointed by the Saskatchewan government to hold the position. Previous appointments have been made by the federal government.
Under the federal Firearms Act, Saskatchewan has the right to hire within.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said earlier this year the decision to have a provincially appointed CFO was made in large part due to the federal government making changes to firearm legislation.
Tell said a Saskatchewan-appointed CFO would be best positioned to represent the province’s position on firearms regulations to Ottawa.
“We have many concerns about the decisions the federal government is making that affect law-abiding Saskatchewan firearms owners,” Tell said.
“A provincially-selected chief firearms officer is an important step in ensuring that Saskatchewan and its firearms community have a strong voice on this issue.”
Freberg said that includes listening to all people in the province, both those for and against firearms.
“Everyone has a voice in this and needs to be listened to and there’s certainly going to be flack on both sides of that issue,” he explained.
“So, again, it’s not going to be a one-sided matter. Anyone who’s ever done any work with me (in) the past will know that I’m pretty open to listening both points of view and coming up with consensus that makes sense.”
Freberg said he doesn’t see his role as challenging federal legislation, but instead as advocating and bringing different solutions to the table.
“I’m hoping, in consultation with the premier and Minister Tell and others, that we’re going to be able to put together some… points or references that we can bring back to the federal government that makes sense and represents the views of Saskatchewan,” Freberg said.
Another important part of his role, Freberg said, is education.
“There’s some folks out there that just need to be reminded of some of the regulations surrounding, say, storage and other things,” he said.
“Expanding our role of training and offering firearms and safety instruction to some of the remote areas making it a little more accessible.”
Freberg has been affiliated with the SWF for over 40 years and served as president of the organization for five years.
He is the past CEO of Brigadier Security Systems and Elite Security Systems, serving in the position for 34 years.
Freberg was a former elected member of the national board of directors for the Canadian Sports Shooting Association and in 2018, he received the Canadian Sports Shooting National Recognition Award for outstanding contributions to the Canadian firearms community.
He is a firearms instructor for the Pal and RPal programs and also has close ties to both urban and rural Saskatchewan.
Freberg will be responsible for administering the federal Firearms Act in Saskatchewan, and has jurisdiction over the licensing, transport and carrying of firearms.
He will also license instructors to deliver firearms safety courses in the province.
Tell said they are working with the federal government during the transition period and during this time, Freberg will work on establishing the provincial office.
The current CFO will continue their duties in the interim, Tell said, to ensure services for law-abiding firearms owners are not interrupted during the transition period.