Updated: Mar 24, 2021
The new government ban surrounding firearms (Bill C-21) not only laid some heavy regulations around recreational guns such as airsoft and paintball guns, but also supporting legislation for the buy back program.
The buy back program means that anyone who owns a gun on the ban list would need relinquish any of their firearms newly banned firearms to the government for a small sum of money. Interestingly enough, the same government not yet released any information concerning the amount they would pay for your gun.
Yves Giroux, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has recently shared a letter that he has sent to the Minister of Public safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair. This letter outlines what information is needed from the government assess and create a proper budget for the program.
In this letter Giroux requests information regarding the buy back program surrounding assault rifles. He states, “More specifically, I require an overview of the program, including the details of the eligibility criteria, the amnesty period, details on how the program will be administered, and any other pertinent information.”
He also goes on to request information surrounding, “the number of assault rifles currently owned in Canada, by type and data on the average market price and annual volume of sales for these assault rifles, by type.”
“In addition, I require any information on the methodology and data used to estimate the potential cost of the program such as:
Number of assault rifles;
Average price; and,
Additional costs to administer the program.”
Giroux then requested all of the documentation be turned in by no later than March, 5 2021. He discusses the proper procedure in which he would like the documents given or any refusal Blair might give. Of course, Blair co-operated and the information was received.
Although this letter allows the government a fantastic opportunity to be completely transparent for a change this does still mean that the buy back program will be put into place as the report can now be found on the PBO website. With his letter of requests comes a contract agreement between the government and IBM Canada to be able to put together a budget with all of the above data. The budget will then determine if the government will be able to follow through on mandatory turn in centers, or the program itself. What is unclear are still the terms and conditions of the buy back.
Blair celebrated by taking to twitter with an article covering this momentous change and captioning it with, "Today is a significant day for our country. Alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau we announced the immediate prohibition of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms."
Even though it was originally going to be mandatory for gun owners to participate in the program it is currently optional. However, if an individual would like to keep their firearm they must deactivate it by welding the end shut, cutting it in half, etc.
TBT was able to speak with Canada's National Firearms (NFA) Director Jordan Vandenhoff to further understand this issue. He spoke of several people more than likely getting the short end of the stick on the return for their firearm. “You could go in with a $10,000 firearm but based on the average price that they decided you could only get penny’s on the dollar… The other issue is that you will need an ATT to leave your house and go straight to the turn in center. The problem is that the ATT does not allow you to bring the firearm home so you are stuck taking whatever they offer.”
Vandenhoff also says, “It’s all political theater right now and they are trying to run on the fear of Canadians.” He goes on to talk about how pushing the bill through will possibly serve as a bargaining chip for federal government to maintain its spot in the next election. He says, “It really just depends on how their budget’s going to come out in April. If they have a really bad budget and no party supports then we’re in an election even sooner.”
TBT was able to ask the Vandenhoff what solutions he thought would better serve the population in terms of gun control. “Gun control is not about the guns, it’s about control from the government... the gun is only a tool so they should not be focusing on crime guns because crime guns is not a word that we use. If they had youth programs to get these people before they started gangs, if they had proper task force for police and gave them the tools to go after these gangs… If they had stricter border controls and better ways of regulating firearms coming into Canada. There’s a lot of illegal smuggling. There’s a lot of very well know illegal smuggling areas in Canada, and the RCMP is well aware of this matter and seems to be a legging matter. It’s like a rotating door service that we have in our court system.