Very few firearm owners have ‘surrendered’ guns to police: report

In an inquiry of ministry, the RCMP said it had 2,123 blacklisted firearms. About a third (723) were surrendered by owners, with police investigations leading to 690 additional seizures.

Very few firearm owners have ‘surrendered’ guns to police: report
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The RCMP has only recovered a few ‘prohibited’ firearms blacklisted by cabinet four years ago, records show. 

In an inquiry of ministry, the federal police agency said it had 2,123 blacklisted firearms. About a third (723) were surrendered by owners, with police investigations leading to 690 additional seizures.

Cabinet in 2020 proposed the mandatory buyback of nearly 200,000 firearms it considered “assault-style,” while the Order in Council (OIC) banned over 1,500 gun models. 

Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs requested the figures, asking: “With regard to firearms prohibited as a result of the May 1, 2020 Order In Council, how many have been turned in, seized, confiscated or otherwise obtained by the government?”

Federal consultants initially counted 110,161 firearms affected by the ban, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. However, Department officials procured a higher estimate, closer to 200,000, while the Budget Office pegged it at 518,000 firearms.

The figures follow a Department of Public Safety deferral of the “buyback program.” An original notice required owners to surrender their property by October 30 last year. 

The Department, in response to a parliamentary inquiry filed by Conservative Senator Don Plett last September, said the federal government spent $41,094,556 without seeing any results.

Minister Dominic LeBlanc deferred the buyback until October 30, 2025, due to stiff resistance, followed by a second deferral until December.

“Every time governments or Parliament legislate in this area there is a very quick reaction from hunting groups and sports shooters, many of whom are in my constituency in rural New Brunswick,” said LeBlanc. “People I know go hunting.”

The Department of Public Safety acknowledged widespread opposition to the program among licensed gun owners regardless of whether they had prohibited firearms. 

“The ban and the buyback program were seen as wasteful because the policy isn’t aimed at stopping illegal gun smuggling and sales,” said a 2023 report Buyback Program Awareness Campaign. “Most firearms owners did not see themselves or their peers as a major factor in gun crimes in Canada.”

“Most firearms owners think inner cities have the highest rate of firearms violence in Canada,” it said. Legal firearm owners repeatedly reiterate that gun violence stems from gang violence, organized crime and other illicit activity.

“Many had sympathy for affected owners and felt it was unfair to target people who had initially acquired their guns legally,” said the Buyback Program report. “Less than half of those owners with prohibited firearms would now willingly participate in a buyback program, a sharp decline over the past year.”

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