Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently issued an Order in Council that contains some of the most restrictive and shocking gun control measures ever implemented in North America. What was originally touted by Trudeau and gun control advocates as an “assault weapons ban” actually extends beyond firearms typically (and ignorantly) labeled as “assault weapons” to include firearms quite commonly used by hunters and recreational shooters throughout Canada and around the world.
“SCI is unapologetic in our defense of hunting and unapologetic in defense of the traditional means of hunting – including firearms,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “Restricting the rights of sportsmen to safely own and use firearms will not prevent crime but it will further erode our hunting heritage. Regardless of any good intentions, this is simply another restriction that will fail to achieve its intended goal of controlling violent behavior.”
Efforts to ban modern sporting rifles are consistently focused on emotion, cosmetics, and appearances with no regard for the operation and performance characteristics of these firearms. This decision comes on the heels of the worst mass shooting in Canadian history, however the new ban would not have stopped the shooter from obtaining his firearms: he did not have a license to possess or purchase firearms, and police have said they believe the guns were obtained illegally. No aspect of the ban addresses the criminal disregard for the law held by the shooter.
More than 115,000 Canadian citizens have already signed a petition calling for Prime Minister Trudeau to immediately repeal the Order related to confiscating legally owned firearms, instead calling for legislation that will target criminals, stop the smuggling of firearms into Canada, go after those who illegally acquire firearms, and apologize to legal firearms owners in Canada. You can also urge Prime Minster Trudeau to repeal the order through SCI’s Hunter Advocacy Action Center.
The most alarming development to come from the gun ban is the prohibition of all modern 10- and 12-gauge shotguns, some of the most commonly used hunting firearms in Canada. A legal review by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association revealed that provisions in the order related to bore diameter and removable chokes are why these common shotguns are included in the ban. Most disturbing is the decision to include this provision followed the announcement from Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Bill Blair that they would not be seeking to ban guns suitable for hunting. There are an estimated 1.5 – 2 million Canadian residents who own shotguns that are now illegal as a result of this poorly considered rule.
The ban also includes several common large bore hunting rifles, many of which are not semi-automatic or resemble any firearm with a military application, including common bolt-action rifles such as the .460 Weatherby and a variety of break-open single- and double-barreled rifles. These firearms are now banned simply due to the powerful cartridges they shoot and are purposely designed to humanely dispatch the largest game animals in an ethical manner.
The Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA), have advised retailers to cease sales of many 12-gauge or larger shotguns with removable chokes to comply with the new laws until the order is hopefully rescinded. CSAAA also advises retailers to stop sales of large hunting caliber rifles that exceed the 10,000 Joules energy restriction (7,375 ft-lbs) even if they are not semi-automatic. Despite hunting seasons being open across much of Canada, lawful firearms owners are encouraged to refrain from using 12-gauge or larger shotguns with removable chokes or large caliber rifles capable of exceeding the government's energy ceiling. These firearms are now wrongly prohibited and may not be used or transported for any reason.
Member of Parliament Bob Zimmer, a co-chair of the Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus, immediately stood up for the Canadian hunting and recreational shooting community by pushing back on the decision.
“Once again this Liberal government has shown their contempt for our outdoor community. After promising our lawful firearms owners that the ban would not include firearms used for hunting purposes, we now know this just simply isn’t the case,” said Zimmer. “According to the new regulations, the ban includes firearms characterized by the following physical attributes: a 20 mm bore or greater…and the capacity to discharge a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10 000 joules. Firearms legal experts have concluded this means that almost every modern 12-gauge and 10-gauge shotgun with removable chokes as well as many other hunting rifles, commonly used for duck hunting and sport-shooting, are now banned in Canada. These are far from the ‘military style’ firearms the Liberals claimed they were prohibiting. Had the Liberal government followed the Parliamentary process, the inclusion of these hunting and sport-shooting firearms could have been brought to their attention well before it became the law of the land. Instead, the Liberal government has once again made our lawful outdoor community feel like criminals. This is unacceptable.”
SCI and SCI Canada stand strong in our defense of hunting and opposition to the extremely flawed gun grab order.