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May 1, 2024 – Canada’s Gun Confiscation Hits Four Year Milestone

Monday, April 29, 2024

May 1, 2024 – Canada’s Gun Confiscation Hits Four Year Milestone

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “assault weapon” ban and confiscation (mandatory “buyback”) scheme was announced on May 1, 2020, with much ado and forceful rhetoric. Six months into the gun ban and confiscation timeline, we wrote how it was “apparent that the government had no implementation plan in place at the time the May gun ban took effect,” with the problems beginning “almost immediately.”

True to form, some 1,500 days post-launch, three government ministers, two amnesty period extensions, and tens of millions of dollars later, it has become increasingly obvious how hopelessly bad the Liberal government’s misguided gun control scheme is, with a few fresh snags now evident.

A firearm industry spokesperson has disclosed that the government failed to consider that parts and accessories, besides the devices and firearms specifically targeted by the legislation, would be covered under the terms of the “buyback.” Wes Winkel, the president of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA), observes that “the government apparently didn’t anticipate that its ban on ‘assault-style’ firearms involved a massive number of parts and accessories that could be captured by the buyback’s planned expropriation, which will require gun owners and retailers holding inventory of those items to be compensated.”

The ban applies to a category of firearms “which is so modular in nature,” with “different parts [that] can be fastened to different weapons that then fall into the assault-style category… many of these things are in different facets of being built at the (retailer) level; most were not sold complete.” According to Mr. Winkel, the CSAAA “has helped identify and price over 3,500 separate parts and components that should be eligible for compensation.” Not only will this add to the scope of the confiscation and its implementation, but to the already ballooning price tag.

In another setback, a plan to have Canada Post, a Crown Corporation, assist in the collection of the banned firearms, components and parts by allowing affected owners to mail their property to the government in special “government-issued boxes,” has reportedly been forestalled by the postal service. According to a news source, the decision was based in concerns over employee security. The confiscation-by-mail option would have afforded the government an opportunity to cut costs and staffing requirements. However, losses and theft by Canada Post employees are not unheard of, and it is uncertain whether mail-in confiscation would even be lawful under the terms of the 2020 gun ban regulations. (SOR/2020-97, on the terms of the amnesty, provides that an owner of a prohibited firearm or device may “deliver the specified firearm or specified device to a police officer” for destruction, or transport it by vehicle for the purpose of surrendering it to a police officer using a “reasonably direct” route, where the firearm/device is not left unattended in the vehicle.)    

National news sources have also started shining a light on the financial aspects and runaway cost of Trudeau’s ban and gun grab. Internal government documents from 2019, obtained pursuant to an access to information request last year, reportedly showed that the cost of the gun “buyback” was estimated to be “nearly $2 billion, despite assurances during the last federal election that expropriating so-called ‘assault rifles’ from licensed Canadian firearms owners would only cost between $400 million and $600 million… How much the confiscation will cost has been a popular subject around Parliament Hill.” Even dramatically larger price tag is suspect, given that the “federal government has yet to release any sound estimates on what the expropriation would cost taxpayers.”

One indication of future costs may be to calculate how much the government has already spent on the program. Another newspaper article indicates that, in response to an order paper question filed by Senate Opposition leader Don Plett last September, “Public Safety Canada revealed that $41,904,556 has been spent so far” on the mandatory “buyback,” with 60 department employees working on the project. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is managing its own team of 15 full-time employees assigned to the confiscation program, “Public Services and Procurement Canada said it has devoted ‘the equivalent of 5.825 full-time employees’ to the project,” with a further two employees from Service Canada. How, asks Sen. Plett, “can your government have spent $42 million on this, when not a single firearm has been bought back?”

Indeed, the only solid accomplishment of the gun confiscation program appears to be the size of the bureaucratic army it has enabled. Wes Winkel describes weekly meetings on the progress of the program. “Typically it’s one or two people from our organization, and now, at times, there’s as many as 30 or 35 bureaucrats from the federal government on those conference calls.”       

And so, it’s on to Year Five. Simon Fraser University Professor Gary Mauser – who early on pegged the real cost of the “buyback” as potentially exceeding C$6 billion – notes, with massive understatement, that “Ottawa is not having much success with their efforts on this file.”

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.