Canada Federal government delays controversial firearm marking program

21:35  19 may  2017
21:35  19 may  2017 Source:   Star Phoenix

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The federal government is deferring its plan to impose a new marking scheme on all firearms manufactured or imported into Canada. Critics have said it will make rifles, shotguns and pistols prohibitively expensive for some.

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The federal government is deferring its plan to impose a new marking scheme on all firearms manufactured or imported into Canada. Critics have said it will make rifles, shotguns and pistols prohibitively expensive for some.

The 13-year-old Firearms Marking Regulations were originally slated to come into force on June 1, but that deadline has been pushed back by 18 months, according to an RCMP email obtained by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

“We were recently advised that the coming into force date for the Firearms Marking Regulations has been deferred to December 1, 2018,” states the email, which also suggests other interested groups are being notified.

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The regulations require every new firearm, including air guns and paintball markers, be engraved with the word “Canada” or the letters “CA.” Foreign guns — about 95 per cent of all guns sold annually in Canada — must also bear the year of import. 

The RCMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said in an email on Thursday that the government is “fully engaged on this matter” and will have more to say on Friday.

Canadian Shooting Sports Association executive director Tony Bernardo, who has previously said the “train wreck” regulations will hike the price of every gun sold in Canada by at least $100, said he was “elated.”

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“I think it’s great that the government has recognized the inadequacies of this regulatory scheme, and are working to correct it.”

Local groups have also spoken out against the regulations. North Pro Sports owner Kevin Kopp said last week that the marking scheme would add between $100 and $200 to the price of every new gun in his store.

Saskatoon Wildlife Federation president Robert Freberg said he was worried a lack of access to affordable firearms would make hunting and shooting sports less accessible than ever. 

Peter Quesnel, who founded and runs Regina Gun Safety and Licensing, said while the rules are not expected to hurt his firearms instruction business, the government’s decision to clarify them is welcome. 

“How are we supposed to make sense of the notion that the guns need to be imported first, then marked and then sent to the consumer, and that they can’t be marked by the factory first?” Quesnel said. “It all just seems rather complicated.” 

In a video posted to Facebook, Gerry Ritz, Conservative MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster, described the delay as an “18-month reprieve” in an ongoing battle with the Liberal government over guns. He urged firearms owners to “double down.”

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This story has been corrected to state that Robert Freberg is the president of the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation.

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