Sask. recruiting its own top firearms officer as it opposes federal ban on 'assault-style' guns

The Ministry of Corrections and Policing said a provincially appointed chief firearms officer would not be able to change federal laws, but would give voice to regional concerns.

Provincially-appointed chief firearms officer meant to reflect Saskatchewan concerns, minister says

Christine Tell, the minister of corrections and policing for Saskatchewan, said a provincially appointed chief firearms officer would not be able to change federal laws but would give voice to regional concerns. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Saskatchewan is stepping up its opposition to the federal government's recently announced firearms ban by confirming it is actively searching for someone to become the province's own chief firearms officer (CFO). 

Premier Scott Moe already announced that Saskatchewan was pursuing a provincially appointed CFO at a convention in March. The position is currently filled by Ottawa.

In a news release Wednesday, the Ministry of Corrections and Policing said the search for a made-in-Saskatchewan firearms officer has now begun.

"The [chief firearms officer] in our opinion, whoever occupies that position provincially, needs to have an understanding of rural Saskatchewan, needs to have an understanding about the very common ... uses of legal firearms in this province," Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said in an interview. 

While the CFO does not have the ability to change federal gun laws, a provincially appointed person would best be able to articulate Saskatchewan's concerns to the federal government, she said.

The recruitment announcement follows on the heels of Ottawa's ban, effectively immediately, on about 1,500 types of "assault-style" firearms. The ban came less than two weeks after the Nova Scotia gun massacre, an incident Trudeau called "the deadliest rampage in our country's history."

The federal government has moved to ban the sale and import of several types of semi-automatic firearms in Canada. (CBC News)

The Saskatchewan government has openly opposed the ban on what it refers to as "previously legal firearms," saying it's unfair to "law-abiding" gun owners. The province added it was not consulted on the ban and that it would rather criminals be targeted in the effort to stem gun violence.

"Saskatchewan's opposition to changes made to federal firearms legislation will continue," Tell's ministry said in an emailed statement Tuesday that went on to mention the move toward the new provincial CFO.

The province is working with the federal government to ensure a seamless transition for the role, the ministry said in its Wednesday release.


Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Saskatoon

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