LAKELAND - The move by the federal government to tighten up long gun licensing and a planned national freeze on handgun ownership has at least one Lakeland gun retailer wondering what is coming next for Canadian firearm owners.
Darryl Lotoski of Warehouse Sports in St. Paul claims the federal government is once again targeting responsible gun owners, while ignoring larger issues at play.
“My first question to whoever revised these gun laws is: give me one example, be it long gun or be it handgun, of how does this make Canada safer? All it does is penalize law-abiding citizens.”
Lotoski believes the Liberal government continues to fail to effectively prevent illegal guns crossing the border into Canada and keep them out of the hands of criminals. He also says a crackdown on criminals in the Justice system makes more sense than the Liberal government setting its sights on legal gun owners.
He is not alone in that belief.
“This Liberal government always makes a big show about cracking down on gun violence whenever there is a mass shooting tragedy in either the United States – or, more rarely but no less urgent and heart-breaking, in Canada - but their policies won’t actually make the streets and communities safer for Canadians,” Lakeland Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs said in a statement to media, following Prime Minister’s Justin Trudeau’s announcement.
Bill C-21, if passed, would prevent individuals from buying, selling or transferring handguns in Canada. Described by the Liberal government as putting forward some of the strongest gun control measures in over 40 years, regulatory amendments have been tabled in the House and the Senate to set the stage for the legislation expected to come into force this fall. The Bill also proposes to take away firearms licenses from those involved in domestic violence or criminal harassment cases, fight gun smuggling and “red flag” those people the courts consider a danger to themselves or others, requiring them to surrender their firearms.
Stubbs believes a freeze on handgun ownership is a “wasteful and ineffective ‘guns for gangs only’ approach which punishes legal, law-abiding gun owners” that will do little to stop criminal activity.
“The Liberals are effectively trading on Canadians' fear and safety for short-term political gain. This week’s announcement continues the Liberals’ ongoing preoccupation with taking firearms away from law-abiding Canadians, while leaving already illegal guns on the streets in the hands of gangs who will never comply, and removing automatic minimum penalties when criminals break existing firearms laws and terrorize victims and innocent Canadians. It just makes no sense,” Stubbs commented following the May 30 announcement.
At the provincial level, Alberta’s chief firearms officer Teri Bryant is requesting the federal government reconsider what she describes as the “backdoor’ long gun registry which came into play May 18. The federal government has implemented additional verification of Possession and Acquisition Licenses for non-restricted firearms and increased record-keeping for their sale by retail businesses.
“Our office has been inundated with calls since news of the deadline emerged because Alberta firearms owners do not understand the changes and are concerned about the potential for a new backdoor long gun registry,” Bryant stated.
Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s minister of Justice and Solicitor General, has called the planned ban on handguns as an “infringement on the property rights” of law-abiding Albertans.
Meanwhile, Lotoski says time will tell what ever-increasing gun control will have on his business. His customers aren’t happy about further restrictions on gun ownership in Canada. Handguns are already heavily restricted and a move to ban the sale of them, along with toughening up the paperwork on long guns is just an indication of more to come, he believes.
“The average person coming in for a hunting draw at 20 years old or 85 years old, they are all angry about it. I haven’t talked to one person yet who agrees with it, even if they don’t own handguns . . . He’s not just going after handguns. There’s more to the story as far as everybody is concerned.”