The Lone Butte Fish & Wildlife Association is speaking out against a ban on assault-style rifles.
The ban affects shooters in the club, says public relations director for the association Grayson Klassen. The club has 510 members, over 300 of whom have restricted PALs, which means they could own restricted guns.
“Every year we have the three-gun competition. We’ve had to cancel that for this year because we don’t know” what can be used, says Klassen.
On May 1, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the ban of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms. These models represent nine categories of firearms and two types identified by characteristic, according to a release. Some of their components are also prohibited.
The ban was created by an order-in-council (OIC) (similar to executive orders in the United States) which are not discussed in Parliament and don’t require legislation by Parliament before being implemented.
Klassen says the communication on it has been confusing.
After the initial list of 1,500, they’ve started prohibiting other items without adding them to the list. Instead, they’ve started adding items to the Firearms Reference Table (FRT), says Klassen, which is a document used by law enforcement to assist with policing, firearms tracking and counter-terrorism initiatives.
“It’s a clerical document. It’s not law but how do I know what happens? There’s been very little information.”
Klassen points to a 702 Plinkster Tactical 22 and an F12 Typhoon that were non-restricted according to May 6 FRT reports but are now both prohibited. He owns one of the latter.
“When I bought it, it came with a two-round magazine to make it legal for hunting because that’s the limit for hunting. So if it wasn’t designed for hunting, why would they send along a two-round magazine?”
Another thing he brings up as unclear is that when the OIC came out it included a ban on firearms with a barrel size in excess of 20 mm, he says.
“With a 12-gauge shotgun and a 10 gauge shotgun, if you take the choke out, the choke is something that constricts the end of the barrel, so if you take it out the diameter of those two, the 12 and the 10 gauge, actually exceed 20 mm.”
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair tweeted that “both 10 and 12 gauge shotguns are under the 20 mm provision, and thus not subject to the prohibition.”
Now, though, on the RCMP website they have a clarification from the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) that states “it is the CFP’s view that, in accordance with acceptable firearms industry standards for shotguns, the bore diameter measurement is considered to be at a point after the chamber, but before the choke.”
However, a clarification is not law, the OIC is the law, says Klassen, “and the OIC doesn’t define how they’re going to measure it.”
“With all of the misinformation that’s come from Bill Blair and Justin Trudeau and the anti-gun lobbies, the misinformation, the lack of complete information, how do we know they’re not going to change their mind? We don’t know. We have no idea. There’s no trust right now between shooters and the Canadian Government, at least, there’s no trust between me and the Canadian Government.”
Malcolm Cattanach vice president and cowboy action director for the association echoes that sentiment.
“All the friends that I shoot with, we’re all in sort of the same boat. We don’t believe anything they say. It’s not just him (Klassen) or I, it’s all of our fellow shooters. We’re all of a similar opinion that the government doesn’t know what they’re doing.”
Klassen says they should scrap the OIC.
“For two reasons, one, it completely bypassed parliamentary process. They just made a rule… It didn’t get debated. It didn’t get voted on.”
The other is that the data they used for justification isn’t complete, he says.
“If we allow this to go through, two things: one, they’re just going to keep going. Pistols will be next,” he says, adding the other is a subversion of legislation.
“Once you start the Order-In-Council, once you start that and prove to yourself that it’s easy, it just gets easier every time.”
If it had gone through a vote, half of the problem would go away, he says.
“As gun owners in Canada, we would still fight it but at least then it went through debate, it went through the proper channels.”
Generally, when they do an OIC it’s for routine business like the appointment of conservation officers, says Cattanach.
“When you bring in legislation, they usually go through the House and are debated so they’re using a provision that normally isn’t used to create regulations.”
Because they’ve had to cancel the three-gun competition, they’ve had to refund fees. Beside refunding the money, they’ve also offered participants the option to donate to gun lobbies which participants have taken them up on at about three to one, says Klassen.
They’re also worried about the buyback, says Cattanach.
“We’re in the middle of COVID-19. We’ve spent I don’t know how many billions. They already tried regulating firearms once before and they said it was a minor amount that turned into the billions. The buyback you have no idea how many billions and add that to COVID-19. Your grandkids are still going to be paying for this. We’re paying all this money and are we going to accomplish anything? And the answer is no. If they redirected the money to border services, mental health, they would get a far bigger bang for their dollar.”
At the same time, Klassen says some people will only get cents on the dollar for what they paid.