Groups want planned exemption from handgun freeze to include wider range of sport shooters

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OTTAWA — MPs are under pressure to expand an exemption to a planned federal handgun freeze to include a wider range of sport shooters — an idea that prominent gun control advocates strongly oppose .

OTTAWA — MPs are under pressure to expand an exemption to a planned federal handgun freeze to include a wider range of sport shooters — an idea that prominent gun control advocates strongly oppose .

In May, the Liberal government announced a plan to implement a freeze on the import, purchase, sale or transfer of handguns to help quell gun violence fire.

The government says effectively capping the number of handguns in Canada will make people safer, noting they were the most serious weapon present in most violent gun-related crime between 2009 and 2020.

Companies could still sell to exempt individuals, including sports snipers who compete or train in handgun events recognized by the international Olympic or Paralympic committees.

Wes Winkel, president of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association, told the House of Commons public safety committee on Tuesday that other competitive shooters should be exempt from the proposed legislation.

There’s no need to single out trained shooters who have “devoted their lives” to a sport just because some handguns are used by criminals, said Winkel, whose group is a voice of the firearms industry. hunting and sport shooting.

Winkel suggested adding exemptions for participants in international competitions organized by the Single Action Shooting Society, the International Practical Shooting Confederation and the International Defensive Pistol Association.

Unlike more traditional competitions, IPSC matches can involve shooting on the move at stationary and moving targets, and trying to be quick between shots, when reloading, or firing from a holster.

Jim Smith of IPSC Canada recently released a statement saying the organization’s letter-writing campaign “seems to be gaining momentum and I’ve had a few meetings with members of the Public Safety Committee.”

“There appears to be at least an opening to consider adding the IPSC to the list of snipers who would be exempt from the proposed ban.”

Gun control group PolySeSouvient says in a written brief to MPs studying the bill, known as C-21, that the exemption should be limited to athletes who compete, train or train in an Olympic or Paralympic discipline involving handguns.

“Furthermore, (the committee) should legislate bearing in mind the possibility that the International Practical Shooting Confederation may one day be recognized by the International Olympic Committee,” the brief states.

“Amending Bill C-21 to limit the exemption to current Olympic or Paralympic competitions would prevent a future scenario that would render the freeze on new handguns unnecessary.”

Tony Bernardo, executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sport Association, told the committee on Tuesday that the bill fails to recognize that those who train to become snipers usually start as young as eight or nine. year.

“A championship shooter is like an NHL hockey player, he doesn’t just fall out of the tree. He needs decades of training to get where he needs to be – hundreds of thousands of rounds to be able to be as good. It’s a very difficult sport.”

PolySeSouvient maintains that the current wording of the bill would allow anyone who expresses an interest in competing one day in an Olympic discipline of handgun shooting to be exempted and accepted into an introductory course.

The group therefore calls for an amendment limiting the exemption to current athletes and coaches in an Olympic or Paralympic discipline, instead of what it considers a general exemption for all future beginners.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 18, 2022.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press



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