Thinking of going hunting this weekend? You might want to reconsider – looks like Friday’s firearm ban includes hunters as well

West Carlton Fish and Game Club photo Hunters with 12 gauge shotguns will want to measure the bore of their shotgun without the choke in place, as the new federal firearm ban applies to any firearm with a barrel over 20 mm.

Update

Ottawa – During the virtual question period today in Ottawa, Blair was asked by Conservative Hunting and Angling caucus chair, Blaine Calkins, about the bore restrictions and Blair stated it was misinformation, and no 10 or 12 gauge shot guns exceed that bore size (without choke). The Courier spoke with professionals within the firearms industry today who verified there are in fact several 10 and 12 gauge shot guns whose bore sizes (without choke) exceed 20 mm.

At approximately 8:50 p.m. ADT, Blair posted on his Facebook page:
“Earlier today, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association issues a statement alleging that our government is banning 12 and 10 gauge shotguns. This is absolutely incorrect and we will be reaching out to them to correct their misunderstanding.

“Both 10 and 12 gauge shotguns are under the 20mm provisions, and thus not subject to the prohibition. Our government is taking action to protect Canadians by banning assault-style weapns – no those used for hunting. The truth matters.”

Ottawa – It took a few days for Edward Burlew, L.L.B., one of Canada’s foremost experts in Canadian firearm law, to comb through the substantial Order in Council (OIC) document – SOR/2020-96 – behind the federal firearm ban handed down by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair on Friday, May 1, but having done so, it appears there’s more to the ban than Blair and Trudeau announced Friday.

Whether it was through misdirection or lack of technical advisors on the part of the federal government, detailed in the OIC are specific references which render prohibited almost every modern 12-gauge and 10-gauge shotgun in Canada with a removable choke (which would be most of them) – because they exceed the maximum bore diameter of 20 mm as defined in SOR/2020-96.

As a result of this discovery, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association strongly advises retailers cease sales of all “12-gauge or larger shotguns with removable chokes”.

Blair assured hunters on Friday the firearms they use were not nor would be included in a ban.

“Nothing we are doing today is aimed at legal hunters and target shooters,” he stated.

It is estimated there are 1.5 to 2 million of these common hunting firearms in Canada.

Additionally, due to classification in the OIC, large bore hunting rifles have also become prohibited – despite being neither semi-automatic nor “military style”. These instead are bolt-action rifles, and fall prey due to the cartridge they shoot.

“Despite open hunting seasons across much of Canada, lawful firearms owners should refrain from using 12-gauge or larger shotguns with removable chokes or large calibre rifles capable of exceeding the government’s energy ceiling” states a press release by the Canadian Shooting Sports Association and the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association.
“These firearms are prohibited and may not be used or transported for any reason,” states the release.

“I don’t know if this is Liberal incompetence or a hidden anti-rural agenda, but it demonstrates how the federal government is totally inept when it comes to keeping Canadians safe by targeting hunters and farmers instead of criminals,” said Southwest NB MP, John Williamson.

“This regulation will impact as many as two million common hunting firearms and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in promised compensation payments. It is a total waste of tax dollars by the Liberals,” he added.

“Our focus should be on criminals and illegal gun smuggling from the United States, not law-abiding Canadians.”

A source has informed the Courier Blair will make a statement soon to “clarify” the issue.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

editor@stcroixcourier.ca