The Shooting Edge is just one of the thousands of ranges across Canada where many of the nearly 2.5 million licensed firearms enthusiasts practice sport shooting or zero in their sights in preparation for the hunting season.
Despite the fact that law-abiding gun owners subject themselves to police checks, strict storage and transportation restrictions and significant safety training — not to mention they are three to five times less likely to commit murder compared to unlicensed citizens — they are in the eyes of Justin Trudeau's Liberal government public enemy number one.
Unsurprisingly, the Liberal's soft on crime and hard on law-abiding citizens approach has in fact not reduced firearms violence, with gun crime increasing as much as 25% when compared to a decade prior.
The May 2020 Order in Council gun ban, which prohibited 1500 firearms, was for many the most egregious assault on firearms owners' rights to date, as it saw many firearms commonly used by hunters and sport shooters alike suddenly become illegal to own.
The overreaching ban was also seen as an attack against the proud Canadian heritage and tradition of hunters, including many Indigenous communities.
Not only did the ban fail to address the core causes of firearms violence, nominally illegal firearms, trafficked firearms and gang activity, but it was also troublingly unclear.
Seemingly abstract determiners, including bore diameter and joules, were being used as the qualifiers to determine which firearms should and shouldn't be permitted. These terms are not common to the lexicon of even informed shooters, and a lack of clarity and confounding language in law does not make a good law.
The ban was so overreaching that five provinces and territories have taken steps to resist federal enforcement. In Alberta, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro introduced the Alberta Firearms Act in an effort to protect firearms owners' rights.
With a looming election in Alberta, many in the firearms community are concerned that an anti-firearms government, like the NDP, may reverse course and cooperate with federal authorities in removing, whether via buyback or gun grab, the now prohibited firearms.
Canadians are not taking this lying down, and several organizations including the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights are challenging the ban.
To provide some legal analysis on those proceedings, I was joined remotely by Eva Chipiuk of Chipiuk Law, who you may recognize from her exceptional work on the Public Order Emergency Commission.
I also spoke with JR, owner of The Shooting Edge, to discuss the concern he has both in terms of the May 2020 gun ban and the looming provincial election.
If you agree that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government needs to stop harassing law-abiding firearms enthusiasts with ineffective, unclear and overreaching laws, please be sure to sign our petition at HandsOffOurGuns.ca.