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Saskatoon gun stores' sales surge after new legislation introduced

Matthew Zarr bought a handgun at North Pro Sports in Saskatoon on Wednesday morning.

“I am purchasing a handgun today before I can’t purchase one anymore,” he said.

Zarr is one of several customers the store has seen since the federal Liberal government tabled Bill C-21 on Monday, with the bill passing first reading in the House of Commons.

Among other measures, the legislation would implement a national freeze on importing, buying, selling or otherwise transferring handguns. It does not ban handguns outright, allowing current owners to continue to possess and use them, but seeks to cap the number already in Canada.

North Pro Sports owner Kevin Kopp says his sales have risen threefold since Monday's announcement.

“The new proposed handgun legislation has created quite a fervour to buy,” Kopp said. “If you were thinking of purchasing a handgun in the last four months, you're looking to buy it today.”

The store's inventory is dwindling and it has increased its order size to keep up with demand before the bill is passed.

“If it's something that you can't get in the future and you want it to today or you wanted it in the last six months, you're rushing. You are stepping up, you're buying today,” Kopp said.

Back Forty Guns and Gear has also seen a surge in sales since the bill was tabled.

“In the last two days probably, I would say minimum 60 per cent increase in sales for our small little store,” employee Lance Kelsey said.

“People are panicking because just like any time, once bad legislation comes in, people panic and they want to get in before they cannot buy a firearm,” said Kelsey.

Meanwhile, Saskatoon Wildlife Federation executive director Todd Holmquist said the group has been "flooded" by people wanting to buy or renew memberships.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in early March the government planned to bring in "very proactive" gun legislation soon after a previous bill expired with last summer's general election call.

With Canadian Press files Top Stories

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