The Saskatchewan government wants the federal Liberals to rethink their recent gun control measures. The controversial new measures would give cities the power to enact local bans on handguns and also outlaw certain semi-automatic rifles.
Ottawa has the final say on firearms and the changes were promised in an election campaign. But Don Morgan, the justice minister of Saskatchewan, thinks that there are other effective ways to fight gun crime.
According to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Morgan said he’s “not taking anything off the table,” referring to the federal government’s plans for gun control. He mentioned that he wanted to collaborate with Ottawa on the issue.
Morgan said, “We don’t want this to go ahead in this form.” He added that the collaboration between provinces would be a “great signal.”
“We’re going to try and adopt a positive approach with them. We’ll put forward the ideas, we’ll want to meet with them at federal-provincial-territorial meetings, which are coming up this month. I intend to raise those issues there,” he said to the StarPhoenix.
Premier Scott Moe is against the banning of guns but the Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair, will have to be swayed by Saskatchewan which does not seem likely.
Blair’s spokesman, Scott Bardsley, noted that they were committed to banning assault rifles but leaving further restrictions on handguns to municipalities.
In an email, Bardsley mentioned that $11.9 million was recently put towards anti-gun and anti-gang programs in Saskatchewan.
Some of the people against the new measures believe that Canada already has fairly strict rules and regulations when it comes to purchasing and possessing firearms.
The Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights says that there are no recorded crimes that have been carried out with AR-15’s by licensed gun owners in Canada.
U of S Social Sciences Research Laboratories conducted a poll in September of 2018 regarding Saskatchewan residents and their opinion on the subject. The poll showed that only 40 percent of residents want stricter gun regulations.
Saskatchewan’s government has not proposed that the gun regulations be less strict.
Morgan believes that there is not much evidence that shows banning “military-style assault rifles” would reduce the crime rate since they are not among the common guns generally used in crime.
Morgan also thinks the many millions that would be used to purchase back the weapons could be much more effective if put towards other issues. He suggested it be used for addiction issues and gangs because of the high crime rate involved with those problems.
Bardsley noted, “Military-style assault rifles have been used tragically to target women and students. For more than four decades, police chiefs in Canada have been advocating for restrictions on assault weapons, and we have listened.”
Morgan said that he is not in favour of giving the authority to ban local handguns to municipalities. He said, “I don’t think that’s where municipalities really should be.”
Bardsley said, “We understand that each city and province has different needs and concerns. We will work with provinces and municipalities by empowering them to enact additional requirements to restrict the storage and use of handguns within their jurisdictions.”