As It Happens

Gun advocate calls ban on AK-47 look-alike 'preposterous'

Tony Bernardo, the executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association is accusing the RCMP of incompetence following its decision to place the Blaze 47 semi-automatic rifle on its prohibited weapons list.
Mossberg corporation's Blaze 47 semi-automatic 26-round capacity .22 rifle. (Mossberg corporation)

Tony Bernardo, the executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, is accusing the RCMP of incompetence after the police force placed the Blaze 47 semi-automatic rifle on Canada's prohibited weapons list. 

The .22 caliber weapon is marketed as a "fun gun" which Bernardo suggests would be used for "'plinking' which is the wonderful sport of shooting tin cans in gravel pits." 

The RCMP has not explained the ban but Bernardo believes it stems from the Blaze 47's appearance. The gun has been designed to resemble the AK-47 assault rifle. "They make the identical gun with the regular stock and that's non-restricted. The one that has the plastic, pseudo-AK-47 stock is prohibited."

The AK-47 is banned in Canada. Originally manufactured in the Soviet Union as the Kalashnikov, it has been widely used in armed conflicts over the past six decades and has been described as the deadliest weapon in modern history. 

Bernardo agrees that the look of the Blaze 47 is part of its appeal but dismisses any suggestion that the possibility of confusion might justify the ban. "It looks like an AK-47 much like a brand new Ford Mustang looks like a 1966 Ford Mustang -- not exactly the same."  

Bernardo took the issue to the office of Steven Blaney, the public safety minister. "They're concerned, of course." The government's latest firearms law allows it to reverse the RCMP's decision. So far the Minister has simply asked the RCMP to review the Blaze 47's classification.

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