“Bill C-580 tries to introduce a local version of Britain’s ‘sporting use test,’” explains Bernardo. “It allows a biased bureaucracy to define hunting and sporting firearms so it can prohibit firearms they don’t like from being imported into Canada. Angus admits he wants to close the loopholes on a common sporting and hunting rifle currently used by tens of thousands of Canadians. This is the slippery slope to wholesale confiscation.
“Angus has already angered gun owners by claiming that the fear of confiscation was created by paranoid conspiracy theorists,” adds Bernardo. “He obviously knows too little about the gun file to be creating legislation to run it. Sport shooters use virtually every type of firearm available for target shooting, so by definition they are all sporting guns.”
The NDP MP claims he consulted with interested parties prior to drafting the bill, but the bill show no evidence that it took place. He did not contact the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA), which is Canada’s largest firearms association, or the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association, the industry body. Angus appears to have consulted only with anti-gun groups that don’t understand the value of heritage sports to millions of Canadians.
“This bill wants to take away the guns that belong to good, law-abiding people who put safety first,” he continues. “All we’re asking is leave us alone because responsible firearms owners are not the problem – go after the criminals instead. Does Angus even care that firearms have been an integral part of Olympic sports since 1896? Over 50 medals are awarded now for rifle, shotgun and handgun shooting. Why don’t the opposition parties get it?”
Bernardo is also communications director of the CSSA. He predicts that Angus and the other opposition members of Parliament who flip-flopped on their support for Bill C-391 to scrap the registry will have a rough ride in the next federal election.
“The CSSA and many wildlife federations will remind voters loud and clear that they were abandoned in their time of need,” says Bernardo. “The tabling of Bill C-580 is twisting the knife for gun owners. If Angus introduced this bill as a last-ditch effort to placate his constituents and other rural Canadians, he should be advised that he did just the opposite. He has given responsible gun owners a renewed reason to fight. For that, we thank him.”