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Over the past month, hundreds of guns have quietly been outlawed by the RCMP on top of the 1,500 firearms previously banned on May 1 by the Liberal government, according to the National Post.
As the list has grown, the RCMP and the federal government have not notified the public. This is a concern for gun owners and sellers as the guns they may have sold, bought or transported in recent weeks may be illegal. As of May 1, the newly banned firearms have been retroactively banned.
Despite Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s claims that firearms used for bird hunting would not be included in Ottawa’s sweeping ban, several semi-automatic and single-shot shotguns have been added to the list along with a minimum of one Russian-made pump-action.
The RCMP decides which firearms should be illegal based on how it interprets Ottawa’s regulations, which received an update on May 1 in order to ban rifles such as the AR-15 and AR-10.
Data from the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA) shows that there were at least 320 shotguns and rifles added to the previous list of 1,500.
Bill Blair’s spokesperson noted that the government is “considering options” when it comes to allowing the public easier access to the banned firearms list.
“We continue to work with the RCMP to ensure that the public Firearms Reference Table is updated as quickly and as thoroughly as possible to reflect changes that were brought in that day,” Mary-Liz Power wrote in a statement.
Several four-gauge shotguns have been added to the RCMP’s updated list such as the single-shot Duck Gun by W.W. Greener, the Webley and Scott Wild Fowl Gun for bird hunting, the Russian-made TOZ and more. The new Firearms Reference Table (FRT) includes many other 12-gauge semi-automatic shotguns.
Eleven types of guns were banned in the May 1 regulations which originally included about 1,500 kinds of gun variants. The regulations outlawed “assault style firearms” which many thought of as arbitrary and broad.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the ban looks for firearms that are made to “kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time” though the updates include Western-style single-shot shotguns that are loaded one at a time, along with rifles used for killing a single target from a long range.
The managing director of CSAAA, Alison de Groot noted, “It’s at their discretion, which means we have no assurances, either as businesses or firearms owners, about what is allowed,” she said. “Because their discretion is wide-ranging.”
The CSAAA has called on the government to compensate distributors and retailers by as much as $1.1 billion due to the small businesses that are now stuck with massive amounts of inventory that is unsellable.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, in any country,” said Wes Winkel, who owns Ellwood Epps Sporting Goods—based in Ontario.
He says that he is now unable to sell 22 percent of his inventory due to the ban.
“We’re at a point now where it’s become so nonsensical that we’ve just started to pull inventory,” Winkel said.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) sent a letter to Blair last week warning that illegal guns “could have been used, transported, transferred or even attempted to be imported” because of the late classification.
“The fact that the government is still determining what firearms are prohibited many weeks after the amended regulations came into force is a sure signal that these changes were not given the necessary time and scrutiny required for regulatory development of this magnitude,” the letter read.
Retailers also have to cover storage costs for firearms that were illegally imported and held by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) even if the purchases were legal at the time.
“An Order in Council (OIC) may be a legal instrument to prescribe prohibitions, but it does not exempt the Government of Canada from the due diligence and rigour of the robust regulatory process that Canadians deserve,” said a letter from the OFAH.
Those who support the ban believe that it will reduce violence across the country by making firearms less accessible while gun advocates believe the ban penalizes law-abiding citizens and ignores criminals who acquire their guns illegally.