Yukon MP promises gun owners changes to firearms legislation
Whitehorse man angry his rifle became a prohibited firearm with no notice
Yukon MP Ryan Leef says the Conservative government will change Canada's firearms legislation before next year's federal election to address the concerns of gun owners.
Leef was speaking to a group of gun owners at a public meeting in Whitehorse on Friday.
Earlier this year, the RCMP deemed a type of sporting rifle as prohibited without telling the public. Eric Grant of Whitehorse says he learned from a gun-user website his $5,000 Swiss Arms firearm had suddenly become illegal.
He says people could be committing a serious crime without even knowing.
"Possession of a prohibited firearm without being licensed to do so carries a three-year mandatory minimum [sentence]," said Grant.
"That's pretty serious in my mind and the fact that people don't know about this, they could still be out there doing what they think is a lawful activity when in fact, if stopped by the RCMP, they could face serious criminal fines and charges."
Grant says the only legal thing he can do with the gun now is turn it in at the RCMP detachment.
Leef cautioned gun owners against blaming Yukon RCMP officers. He says they shouldn't be lumped in with RCMP bureaucrats in Ottawa.
"It's really important to know it's not front-line RCMP officers that's involved in these decisions at all," he said.
Some people at the meeting reminded Leef it's elected politicians like him who are supposed to make the decisions, not the bureaucrats.
Leef promised Grant and others that the government will be changing firearms legislation before next year's federal election, but says the government is also under pressure from a strong anti-gun lobby.