Federal gun ban worries Baker Settlement firearms owner

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>A section of a briefing note prepared for Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair, when he was appointed to the federal cabinet.</p>

Ottawa's recent declaration that more than 1,000 models and variants of assault-style firearms would be banned in Canada raised alarm for a local gun owner who feels the sweeping changes are steeped in political opportunism and speak to larger steps toward future - and needless - government oversight.

"He's blaming law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals," Michael Whynot, a Lunenburg County resident, told LighthouseNOW in reference to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's position.

"He's politicizing this recent tragedy here in the province ... the [shooter] did not have a [firearms] licence and his guns were not legal and the ban [the federal government's] enacting in no way would have affected the outcome."

"The logic makes no sense to me and the timing is terrible."

Trudeau referenced the April mass shooting in the province - and others - when he announced the new courses of action.

"These measures will remove dangerous firearms designed for military use from our communities, and help ensure that Canadian families and communities no longer suffer from gun violence," the Prime Minister said at the time. "There will be a transition period of two years to protect owners of newly prohibited firearms from criminal liability while they take steps to comply with these new rules."

"The Government of Canada intends to implement a buy-back program as soon as possible to safely remove these firearms and to introduce legislation as early as possible, working with Parliament and through public consultation."

Whynot, who lives in Baker Settlement and works in management for a supermarket, legally owns a handgun and a shotgun, which he uses for sport-shooting. Neither weapon is impacted by the ban. The 57-year-old reached out to LighthouseNOW to bring attention to an electronic petition calling on the Liberal government to scrap the order-in-council, essentially a majority vote of cabinet - "related to confiscating legally owned firearms ..."

The petition ( https://petitions.our commons.ca/en/Pettion/Details?Petition =e-2574 ) demands "legislation that will target criminals, stop the smuggling of firearms into Canada, go after those who illegally acquire firearms, and apologize to legal firearms owners in Canada."

The e-petition, which has the support of an Alberta Conservative MP, has about 220,000 signatures, and counting.

Whynot is concerned it's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential for more government restrictions, whether gun-related or otherwise.

"There are many lawful gun owners in Lunenburg County who will find this story pertinent to them in this time of diminishing civil liberties," he said.

While it's unclear a petition will make a difference, Whynot said it shows people are paying attention and a Prime Minister leading a minority government can't ignore it.

The Trudeau Liberals ran on a platform during the last campaign that included a "Gun Control" section, promising, "We will ban assault rifles and crack down on gun crime."

Nova Scotia's voice in the Trudeau cabinet, South Shore-St. Margaret's MP Bernadette Jordan, said the government understands that the majority of gun owners are responsible, law abiding people who buy guns legally, and store them securely and use them responsibly.

"To be clear, our proposals will not restrict the legitimate activities of hunting, farming, and sport shooting, which do not require a military-style assault rifle," Jordan told LighthouseNOW in a statement. "They are intended and necessary to ensure public safety and to make it far more difficult for a person with criminal intent to obtain a firearm that has been designed specifically for military purposes," said Jordan.

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