The amendment to the bill is meant to ensure that gun manufacturers can’t tweak the designs of prohibited firearms to make them available in Canada again.
In a release Wednesday, SARM said this will happen overnight, without warning and will penalize and criminalize around 75,000 legal firearms owners in Saskatchewan. It is estimated that Saskatchewan has approximately 115,000 licensed firearms owners in the province.
“Rather than going after criminals, they are going after people who have been following the law all along,” said Ray Orb, president of SARM, “and that’s a big problem for us and a big concern for us, as well as the province.”
Orb said there has been very little, if any, consultation about the bill with legal gun owners.
“The federal government is planning on spending billions of dollars to criminalize and take away firearms from law-abiding, legally licensed Saskatchewan residents,” SARM said in the release. “These dollars could be utilized by municipalities across this province and throughout Canada to fight rising rural crime rates, violent crime, gangs, trafficking, and illegal firearms.”
Orb suggested that the money be put into the struggling RCMP system or border security to more directly work at targeting criminals who are obtaining guns illegally.
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Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have united to oppose amendments to Bill C-21.
“The rifles and shotguns that law-abiding Saskatchewan farmers, hunters, and sport shooters use will soon be confiscated by the Trudeau – NDP government,” said Christine Tell, minister of corrections, policing and public safety for Saskatchewan. “These men and women will be criminalized overnight. Saskatchewan will not stand idly by while the federal government yet again attacks law-abiding citizens instead of focusing on crime.”
Kelvin Goertzen, minister of justice and attorney general for Manitoba, voiced similar concerns.
“Manitoba continues to raise significant concerns regarding the proposed measures that will punish law-abiding firearms owners while doing little to address illegal importation of firearms from the United States,” Goertzen said.
“The federal government should focus its attention and resources on illegally imported firearms, and those who commit crime with guns, instead of measures that target law abiding citizens. Manitoba’s government stands united with Saskatchewan and Alberta in opposing the federal Liberal government’s confiscation plans.”
In response to the Prairie provinces, the Liberal government said it has no intention of targeting farmers and hunters.
“The government has no intention — no intention whatsoever — to go after long guns and hunting rifles,” said Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. “And this is simply Conservative fearmongering.
“I said that I am always open to working with all members of Parliament on the committee, in the House, to make sure that we get this right. But we will not compromise on prohibiting assault-style firearms of the AR-15 variety because they have no place in our communities.”
At a committee meeting Thursday, Liberal MP Pam Damoff said the definition of the banned firearms would remain similar to the types that were banned in 2020, providing a “clear definition of the specifications of these guns that were designed for war.”
“I just want to make clear that we are not going after hunters,” Damoff said. “We’re looking to remove weapons that were designed for the battlefield from our society.”
“It’s kinda upsetting that the ban had to come along,” said Regina resident Jay Rymke, “but some people aren’t safe without it.”