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Saskatchewan-appointed chief firearms officer could be in place by September

File photo. The Saskatchewan government said it continues to work on the transition of the provincial chief firearms officer from federal management. Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan’s own provincially appointed chief firearms officer could be in place by the end of September.

The province said it continues to work with its federal counterparts to finalize the transition from federal to provincial management.

Officials said work that needs to be completed in advance of the transition includes finalizing contracts and agreements, preparing office space and hiring and training staff.

Read more: Saskatchewan is seeking its own chief firearms officer to advocate for gun owners

“When The Firearms Act was introduced in 1998, five provinces chose to manage the Canadian Firearms Program provincially,” Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said in a statement Friday.

“Saskatchewan is the first province to join them and transition from federal to provincial management.”

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Robert Freberg was hired by the province in August 2020 as its chief firearms officer designate.

Freberg said he has been working on the transition since then.

“I look forward to working with the federal government, Canadian Firearms program and all of our provincial stakeholders to complete this important transition,” he said.

“I am deeply committed to supporting and promoting the long-standing heritage of responsible firearms ownership in this province.”

Read more: Robert Freberg named Saskatchewan’s next chief firearms officer

Freberg will oversee licensing, storage, transportation and carrying of firearms in the province, and will be responsible for licensing instructors who provide firearm safety training in the province.

Last year, Premier Scott Moe said the province would start appointing its own chief firearms officer.

He said at the time that the decision was made in large part to the federal government’s decision to make changes to firearm legislation.

The province said it continues to oppose the federal government’s firearm control measures, including Bill C-21.

Bill C-21 would give municipalities discretion to ban handguns, if they choose, through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation.

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It also proposes a buyback of many recently banned firearms that the government deems to be assault-style weapons, but owners would be allowed to keep them under strict conditions.

A statement from the Saskatchewan government says Bill C-21 “will do little to impact firearm-related crime in our province, and unfairly targets law-abiding firearms owners.”

— wIth a file from The Canadian Press

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