Sask. unaffected by tabled federal law allowing cities to ban handguns
REGINA -- Saskatchewan will not see many changes from the federal government’s proposed stricter gun laws because of provincial legislation that was passed in June.
During the last session, the Saskatchewan government introduced amendments to Bill 194 to further protect the rights of legal gun owners in the province. The amendments prevent banning gun ownership at the municipal level.
“It really makes that portion of the announcement that the federal government made [on Tuesday], with respect to municipalities enacting bans on how handguns are moved around or any type of municipal legislation when it comes to handguns, [unavailable] to Saskatchewan municipalities,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said on Tuesday.
Allowing individual municipalities to create bylaws to ban handguns is just one of the amendments in Bill C-21 the federal government has tabled.
Moe said the province passed the legislation in June to ensure there is only one set of firearms regulations in Saskatchewan.
He said although this is the federal government’s jurisdiction, the laws will be interpreted by the province’s chief firearms officer.
Moe said the biggest concern he has with the amendments being made by the federal government is the lack of consultation that was done with the province.
“I think our consultation has ultimately amounted to a phone call after the legislation was introduced publicly,” Moe said. “Had we been consulted, I think we would have quickly indicated to the federal government that it is not the law abiding firearms owners that are the problem when it comes to crime rates.”
Moe said most firearm-related crime is committed by stolen or smuggled guns.
Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said she is open to having conversations about the municipal firearms legislation with police.
“I’m interested in hearing from the chief of police and his team as it relates to what it is possible that we could do that would help him and the Regina Police Service in terms of making Regina safer,” Masters said. “I don’t think anything is off the table as to what the police service needs to be safe and keep our community safe.”
She said should would be open to the city and police service working together to approach the province if, in the future, there are any steps they want to move forward with the legislation.
In an email to CTV News, the Regina Police Service (RPS) said it does see handguns used in the city.
“In the hands of criminals, they are a tremendous concern,” Elizabeth Popowich, manager of public information and strategic communication with RPS, said. “Ultimately, it will be up to our municipal government to consider this question and if there is a discussion, we hope to inform that discussion.”