For Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach, recent sweeping restrictions on a number of semi-automatic weapons dubbed “assault-style” by the Liberal government have been somewhat off target.
While Bachrach and the NDP platform support elements of gun control, he has raised a number of issues with the transparency of the process as a whole.
For one, the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP said he feels the decision of what kind of models of firearms should be owned by civilians is a question that needs to be determined by law enforcement experts, noting that a strong majority of Canadians have voiced support for increased gun control measures.
When asked about whether he thinks measures should impact semi-automatic weapons as a whole and given the example of an SKS, Bachrach reiterated his support for the above. “I understand the SKS is one model that is raising questions about the Liberals’ list criteria,” he said.
However in no uncertain terms, Bachrach added he would continue to support responsible firearm ownership for those across the province. “I’m committed to ensuring that northern residents including ranchers and hunters are able to responsibly own and legitimately use firearms.”
Previously Bachrach told Black Press Media he felt that “people are right to raise their eyebrows at regulating gun aesthetics rather than function,” which he said was a reference to people he has spoken to who are confused about why some firearms are on the list and not others.
“It behoves the government to have a decent explanation for how this list was drawn up and I’m not sure we’ve heard that yet,” said Bachrach. “Most Canadians expect regulations to be logical and consistent.”
He said that he is disappointed the ban was announced through an order in council and without any concrete details about an accompanying buyback program, adding that he wouldn’t speculate on legislative outcomes but was looking forward to reviewing the legislation in detail when it does become available.
Bachrach added that he sympathized with gun owners opposed to the ban but was steadfast in his support for gun control measures constructed by law enforcement experts.
“I understand the frustration some gun owners are feeling right now,” he said. “At the same time, there’s an important national conversation about public safety and a strong majority of Canadians who feel that certain firearms should not be owned by civilians.”
He added the important thing is for both sides of the discussion to understand each other’s perspective and work together as a country to find a solution.
Gun control in Canada has seen a number of changes over the past decades, most notably Bill C-51 and C-17. The former, passed in the House of Commons in 1977, introduced a number of changes to gun control in Canada, including the banning of fully automatic weapons (unless they were registered as restricted weapons before January 1, 1978). The legislation also introduced the Chief Firearms Officer position, new search and seizure powers for law enforcement and restricted one’s ability to carry a restricted weapon for the purpose of protecting private property.
Bill C-17, which came in force between 1992 and 1994 across the country, banned access to high-capacity magazines for both automatic and semi-automatic firearms. It also created orders prohibiting or restricting most paramilitary rifles and some types of non-sporting ammunition.
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