'There Is No Such Thing Left In Canada As A Cheap New Firearm': Local Stores, Organizations Worried About New Gun Rules

In the 14 years since he opened North Pro Sports, Kevin Kopp has watched the prices on rifles, shotguns and pistols in his Sutherland-area store climb steadily higher — usually, he says, by around five per cent annually.

Now, Kopp is worried that 13-year-old federal regulations set to take effect next month will deter his customers, erode his bottom line and have a dampening effect on the province’s hunting and sport shooting communities.

“It’ll all be passed on to the end consumer, for sure,” Kopp said of the Firearms Marking Regulations, which various organizations have estimated will add between $100 and $200 to the cost of every new firearm sold in Canada. 

The regulations require that every firearm manufactured or imported into Canada — including airguns and paintball markers — be engraved with either the word “Canada” or the letters “CA.” Foreign guns must also bear the year of import.

Saskatoon Wildlife Federation president Robert Freberg says the non-profit can't get willing firearms instructors approved by the RCMP.

Saskatoon Wildlife Federation president Robert Freberg. Liam Richards / Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Canada imports around 650,000 firearms each year, and tests have shown that it takes three people 20 minutes to unpack, engrave and repack each one, said Canadian Sport Shooting Association executive director Tony Bernardo. 

Without amortizing the cost of additional workers, laser engraving machines and specialized jigs to hold the firearms, the result is that every gun sold in the country will immediately increase in price by at least $100, he said. 

That means gun stores like North Pro, which rely on the already thin margins on firearm sales to survive, will have to start selling used guns, branch out into fishing tackle or other outdoor gear, or simply close for good, he said. 

“At this point in time, there is no such thing left in Canada as a cheap new firearm — those don’t exist anymore,” Bernardo said, adding that it remains unclear whether Canadian distributors will be ready to start engraving guns in three weeks. 

Saskatoon Wildlife Federation (SWF) president Robert Freberg is also worried about the new regulations. Besides concerns about local retailers, higher barriers to entry could leave the SWF’s shooting ranges and classrooms empty, he said. 

“For a lot of people maybe considering getting their kids or young people into shooting, a .22 (calibre rifle) they might buy for $150 is now going to be $350.” 

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was unavailable for an interview on Thursday. Spokesman Scott Bardsley said in an email that the government is aware of the concerns.

“We are committed to measures that help improve public safety and respect law-abiding gun owners,” Bardsley wrote. “The government is fully engaged on this matter. We hope to be able to bring clarity to it in the very near future.”

In addition to higher prices on the roughly 1,000 firearms North Pro sells each year, Kopp said there is little to suggest marking firearms that already carry unique serial numbers makes them any safer or easier to trace.

“If they did it to golf clubs and golf clubs were $499 a set, and they deemed them dangerous and wanted to put a $50, $100 surcharge on them, there’d be an uproar.”



Source : https://thestarphoenix.com/business/local-business/there-is-no-such-thing-left-in-canada-as-a-cheap-new-firearm-local-stores-organizations-worried-about-new-gun-rules

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