New law turns 'law-abiding firearm owners into criminals': Saskatoon Wildlife Federation
SASKATOON -- The federal government’s stricter gun laws aren’t on target for the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation.
The new gun control legislation follows the ban of 1,500 models in May. It paves the way for a buy-back program where people can sell prohibited guns to Ottawa, or keep them under strict storage.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the goal is safety.
“We are not targeting law-abiding citizens who own guns for hunting or sport shooting,” Trudeau told reporters Tuesday.
Todd Holmquist, executive director of the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation, said that’s exactly who the gun law targets.
“A lot of us feel that it's almost turning law-abiding firearm owners into criminals,” Holmquist told CTV News.
Holmquist said the prohibited guns are primarily used safely at federally-regulated ranges, such as the wildlife federation’s.
“The majority of the firearms we're talking about here are used for recreational activities — basically shooting paper … to practice target shooting,” he said.
“It’s no different than a golfer going into a driving range.”
Premier Scott Moe said the province wasn’t consulted about the new rules. Moe said he only got a call from Ottawa after the legislation was tabled.
“That’s the degree of consultation Saskatchewan had,” Moe told reporters during a Tuesday press conference.
The new rules also allows municipalities to ban handguns.
But the premier said Saskatchewan’s recently-amended provincial legislation blocks this from happening.
“Any municipal legislation on handguns isn’t available to Saskatchewan municipalities. We passed that legislation last session,” Moe said.
Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, believes the new legislation amendments are to appease urban voters.
“People in rural areas I think the feel that here is urban Canada yet again trying to impose their particular values,” he said.
Leuprecht’s research focuses on national security, public policy and has written about gun smuggling networks. He said the ban on certain firearms likely won’t have a real impact on reducing crime.
“This particular piece of legislation is going to have a minimal overall effect because it doesn't target the types of guns which the vast majority of crimes in Canada are actually being committed,” he said.
An amnesty period to give firearm owners time to comply with the ban will end April 30, 2022.