RCMP officer with patrol rifle

Courtesy Burnaby Now

Canadian cops are worried the Liberal government’s new gun grab will hamper their training with their rifles.

Writing for the police’s Blue Line website, Rob Welsman, a police officer and a firearms and defensive tactics instructor, said prior to the ban, most of the patrol rifles in use in Canada were classified as restricted firearms and those models could be purchased privately by anyone holding a restricted firearms licence.

He wrote with the passage of the new law, all private sales of these firearms have stopped. The most common firearm in Canada that appears on the list of banned rifles is the AR-15 (Armalite Rifle model 15) and its variants, which also happens to be the most common type of patrol rifle in Canada for general duty/patrol use, as well as for many specialty teams.

“During its time as a restricted firearm, officers who wanted to frequently practice their patrol carbine skills could purchase their own AR-15 and practice on their own time, beyond the once or twice a year mandated qualification their police service provides. These officers must now be aware that such privately owned firearms are prohibited and can no longer be trained with,” Welsman wrote.

“Because the ban goes beyond the AR-15, any Canadian police officer who owns firearms, AR-15 or not, should carefully review the list of banned firearms and the ban criteria so as to avoid being in criminal possession at the conclusion of the two-year amnesty.

“With the private ownership option gone, officers will be limited in their ability to seek out additional training from private companies who offer, or at one time offered, patrol carbine training.  With this new legal framework, it will be a difficult proposition for an officer to get approval from their department to take a department-owned carbine out of service to go to outside training that hasn’t been reviewed and evaluated by the department.

“In addition, firearms trainers, many of whom are private citizens but with former law enforcement or military backgrounds, will be unable to use for teaching the very firearms platforms that they instruct on.  In the past, privately-owned patrol carbines removed these road-blocks, and now officers will be much more limited in their training options.”

In early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced they are banning 1,500 different makes and models of what he called “military-style” and “assault-style” guns in Canada.

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The ban came into effect immediately and was ordered by the cabinet without any bill or debate in Parliament.

Previously legal gun owners will be allowed to export the weapon or send them back to the manufacturer.

Guns like the M16, M4, AR-10 and AR-15 rifles will be banned. It is estimated there are now 125,000 of these guns – purchased legally – which are now illegal. Licensed gun owners will no longer be allowed to sell, transport, import or use the guns.

The move comes after one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history April 18-19 where Gabriel Wortman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia. Thirteen had been shot to death while nine died in fires Wortman set. Critics say the Liberals are using the tragedy to push through their new gun ban.

Wortman used illegal weapons from both Canada and the U.S. including one the RCMP said “could be described as a military-style assault rifle.”

The federal government still has to work out the details of a buy-back program to compensate the owners of previous legal firearms.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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