We apologize for this somewhat long winded posting, but while core of what it involves is quite important to firearms owners from all backgrounds, the expense is something that we would all bare.
In the last few days the rumbling has begun regarding a bill introduced by Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, one whose title is misleading and pandering in a way that would damage the trust of the sporting community for decades to come. The "Strengthening Canadians' Security and Promoting Hunting and Recreational Shooting Act" would introduce a number of measures that would be expensive, profoundly restrictive, and do very little to assist with those activities.
The act would remove our current system for firearms, removing Prohibitted, Restricted, and Non-Restricted from the classifications, and introducing a reworded class system. This in itself is not entirely a bad thing, but a clause of the the restrictions introduced for the "Circumscribed" subset of firearms would be a disaster for the sport shooting & hunting industry in Canada, in addition to requiring a new framework which has historically been a monstrous expense. The previous Long Gun Registry cost over $1-Billion to bring about, in a time of belt tightening across the country, the money required would have to be diverted from many other programs Canadians need, or with costly new taxes and prohibitive service fees.
Two major elements of the new Circumscribed class of firearms have stood out as being deeply discouraging and unreasonable for hunters and recreational sport shooters. Currently our firearm laws accept semi-automatic firearm as a long standing traditional hunting platform, popular among people from a wide variety of backgrounds across the country. These firearms date back over 100 years, and include the extremely popular Browning Auto-5, a shotgun that was patented in 1900, designed over 116 years ago, and manufactured up until 1998! This gun, and many like it would over-night become ineligible for use in hunting or recreational use despite being a traditional favorite used by multiple generations of Canadian families, damaging to the trust of many future generations in our governments capacity to craft reasonable and well thought out regulations.
Currently we have regulations in place limiting the magazine capacity on these firearms which have been quite successful in ensuring that the rules work towards a balance between safety & sport, but the new classification would throw this balance right out the window. One of the most concerning of the elements of the proposed Circumscribed class would be the introduction of centralized storage for the pending "Circumscribed" or "Prohibited" firearms. Many of these items are quite valuable, and sensitive to mishandling. Moving them to a centralized storage ignores the liability of damages or the increased value of the items as a target for theft. This act proposes no financial elements to support these security & liability issues, nor the additional costs of transport to and from centralized locations, how they may be setup, or where they may be located. The issue of storage locations could additionally be a serious concern in more remote communities where a local neighbor may be several hours away, and centralized storage being even further.
An additional complication of the proposed Act comes for businesses that may have sold semi-automatic firearms now classified as Circumscribed for sporting & hunting, requiring that all employees of be fully licensed for Circumscribed firearms, regardless of department. This would likely end in many businesses reducing staff, or entirely removing departments due to the logistical difficulties this would introduce. In a time of huge unemployment across the country, this would be salt in the wounds of an already suffering public. It is important for the people involved with this law to understand the depth of impact on finances in the daily lives of many Canadians this would make. There is no mention in the act of what costs or requirements may be in place for any education or training for these licenses, a serious oversight which highlights the short-sighted nature of the legislation.
We encourage you to contact your local representatives, and politely let them know that this proposed act is simply not suitable for the finances, safety, or recreational benefit of Canadians.
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