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MD gathering clubs' feedback on federal gun regulations

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BONNYVILLE – MD of Bonnyville council will be getting some insight from local shooting associations about the new federal gun regulations before deciding their next moves.

The issue was raised after the MD received a letter from Cold Lake city council, which was sent out to municipalities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, asking councils to voice their concerns and lobby against the restrictions.

“The regulations that they put in place in the past little bit are just more rules and regulations for the existing gun owners,” acting CAO Matt Janz told MD council during their July 22 meeting. “They’re not taking away anyones .22s or hunting rifles, but they’re restricting the calibres that these gun owners do have and there’s a lot of owners within the MD of Bonnyville that do have these guns that are going to have to get rid of them.”

The letter is in response to the Government of Canada’s prohibition on over 1,500 assault-style firearms and devices, which came into effect on May 1.

City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland said in the letter, “The city feels that the federal government’s gun ban will be an expensive exercise that will only serve to take law-abiding people’s property while doing nothing to reduce crime. Municipalities are the level of government closest to the people, and a large part of our budget and operations are focused on providing safe and healthy communities. We see forecasts of hundreds of millions of federal dollars to be spent to buy back guns from people. As there are people who went through the necessary education, background checks and licensing to purchase them, it seems to be a poor thought out plan, especially if it aims to reduce crime.”

Janz noted many MD residents who own these types of guns “use them for target practice to go out on the shooting range.”

“It doesn’t make sense why they’re doing this because these guns aren’t being used negatively. But, it’s just another way for the government to reduce the number of guns out there,” he added.

Since there are a number of gun owners within the municipality, Coun. Ed Duchesne was in favour of speaking up for them.

“We have quite a few hunting guides, either spring bear hunts or deer hunts, recreational shooters, and we have a big gun club with a nice facility out there. So we definitely should be saying something in support of them, all of them, not just the farmers who own guns,” he stressed.

The municipality will be reaching out to the Bonnyville Shooting Sports Association and the Cold Lake Fish and Game Association to gather feedback before discussing the matter further at a future meeting.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle