Still no date for Canada’s retail gun buyback as amnesty deadline nears – National


The group the federal government called “the primary source of information for industry” in the retail-banned firearm buyback says it still does not know when the program will begin.

This comes as the amnesty on banned firearms is set to expire on Oct. 30.

“I implore the government to announce an amnesty extension as soon as possible to alleviate the stress for a lot of people that own these firearms,” Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA) president Wes Winkel told Global News.

“I don’t think there’s any way that, even if there is the potential to make an announcement for a date to initiate the buyback, there’s no way to get it completed, obviously, by the end of October, not with the volume of guns that are out there.”


Click to play video: 'Phase 1 of firearms buyback program leaves gun retailers in limbo'


Phase 1 of firearms buyback program leaves gun retailers in limbo


The plan announced in April is to first run a business buyback of around 1,800 firearms banned by a May 1, 2020 order in council in the wake of the mass shooting that began in Portapique, N.S. Then, there will be a buyback for individuals who own these guns.

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In a statement, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc’s spokesperson Jean-Sébastien Comeau said the government is committed to addressing gun violence.

“In parallel with the ban on assault-style rifles that has been in place since May 2020, we are committed to instituting a buy-back program that would allow firearm owners to return their firearm for fair compensation. We will update Canadians on that work as it progresses,” Comeau wrote.

When the partnership was announced, the CSAAA said it was taking part to advocate for a fair deal for retailers and will not take part in the buyback for individuals.

Winkel says the CSAAA has been meeting monthly with representatives from the Public Safety Ministry, and he believes the work needed for a buyback was underestimated.

“It’s a very convoluted program. And, you know, in hindsight, maybe the legislators made a bit of a mistake in bringing this action through so swiftly with an order in council and not doing proper consultation,” he said.


Click to play video: 'Phase 1 of firearms buyback program leaves gun retailers in limbo'


Phase 1 of firearms buyback program leaves gun retailers in limbo


Once Parliament returns on Sept. 18, gun control group PolySeSouvient said it hopes to see progress on these measures and the passage of Bill C-21.

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“We are worried, but we (will) be there to maintain the pressure on (Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc),” said Nathalie Provost, an Ecole Polytechnique mass shooting survivor.

“It has to be done now, because if it’s not done before in the election, everything that has been done the last eight years of the Liberal mandate will just be for nothing and it’s not acceptable for all Canadians.”

Bill C-21 is the Liberals’ signature gun control legislation and includes a national freeze on the sale of handguns, tougher penalties for gun smuggling and other measures aimed at reducing gun violence.

The bill has been passed by the House of Commons but is still before the Senate.

“So it’s very difficult for them to propose something regarding the buyback if the law is not completed. So, we understand where we are, but we are worried,” Provost said.


Click to play video: 'Federal government unveils 1st phase of gun buyback program'


Federal government unveils 1st phase of gun buyback program


The Liberal government has long promised to institute a buyback of “assault-style” firearms, first as a campaign promise in the 2019 election.

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Following the May 2020 cabinet order, people and businesses who were already in possession of now-banned firearms were given a two-year amnesty period while the government developed a mandatory buyback program.

In March 2022, the government extended the amnesty to Oct. 30, 2023, to allow for more time to develop the buyback program.

Provisions do exist for people to proactively surrender these firearms and components to law enforcement without compensation.


Click to play video: 'Trudeau unveils ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program'


Trudeau unveils ‘assault-style’ gun buyback program


Adding to the complication of implementing the buyback, according to Winkel, is the modular nature of firearms included in the cabinet order.

“Most of the firearms that were prohibited are kind of our industry’s version of a Mr. Potato Head…. They have lots of pieces that snap together and they can be changed around quite quickly,” Winkel explained.

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“These are very complicated field of firearms…. Half the field is prohibited and half of it is not. So it takes a great deal of expertise to figure out what exactly is prohibited to start with and then how to go about cataloguing and pricing and collecting them.”

Until the buyback is implemented, prohibited inventory sits on the shelf. Winkel says his store in Orilla, Ont., has about $250,000 in firearms and components that are prohibited, which he has been insuring and have been going through RCMP inspections for the past three years.

Winkel said some larger stores have millions of dollars worth of prohibited inventory.

“I think if you’re a taxpayer in Canada, you should have a great deal of concern as to how these costs could balloon out of control for such a large program,” he said.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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