The B.C. Wildlife Federation is deeply disappointed that the Federal Court has chosen to dismiss the legal challenge to new federal regulations that ban 1,500 types of legally owned firearms.
The 2020 Order in Council at the heart of the case affects millions of firearms used by hunters and sport shooters. Sadly, the judge found that the Governor in Council does not owe a duty of procedural fairness to firearm owners affected by the Regulations.
A comprehensive study of the listed firearms by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters found that the vast majority were suitable for sustainable hunting. Despite claims that the current firearms regime is “evidence based,” the government has not made public any studies that support its effectiveness. On the contrary, scientific research challenges the orthodox belief that restricting law-abiding citizens’ access to firearms improves public safety, according to BCWF Firearms Committee Chair Gary Mauser.
Further restricting firearms ownership by licensed owners will have no impact on public safety.
According to the RCMP, more than 2.2 million Canadians possessed a firearms license in 2019 after having been vetted by police. And the vast majority of Canadians who own firearms are solid citizens who do not just contribute substantially to their communities, they are much less likely to commit crimes with firearms than other Canadians.
The federal government would be better served by stopping the flow of illegal firearms over our border with the United States and cracking down on smugglers and violent gangs. The BCWF shares the public’s concern about crime involving guns and we support tougher penalties for criminals who commit crimes with firearms.
Confiscating these lawfully owned firearms will cost Canadians between $1 billion and $7 billion. Plus, it will cost up to $750 million in compensation to legal owners, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office. More than $200 million will be spent to destroy the firearms.
The ban contained in Bill C-21 is currently being considered by the Senate.
Unfortunately, Bill C-21 is focused on the wrong firearms and on people who pose no threat to public safety. Canadians who hold Possession and Acquisition licenses are among the most highly scrutinized firearm owners in the world.
“The BCWF represents thousands of responsible, law-abiding members of Canada’s leading conservation organizations,” said Executive Director Jesse Zeman. “Our members are focused on protecting and restoring Canada’s fish, wildlife and habitat for generations to come, through our organizations’ efforts including millions of volunteer hours, and donations to projects that protect and enhance fish, wildlife and habitat. Please focus your time, resources and energy on criminals and on stopping the flow of illegal firearms across our borders, not on Canadians who are doing their best to protect our environment for future generations.”