One Kelowna gun shop says handgun sales are on the rise while the federal government discusses a handgun freeze.
Warehouse Manager with Great North Precision Dan Shemley said it’s not bad for business short-term.
“Anytime you announce new legislation people get worried and they rush out… Long-term I see it being detrimental because, of course, handgun sales do make up a not (sic) insignificant amount of our sales, especially spring/summer when you get all the people kind of shaking off the snow and going ‘ok, I’m going to get out to the range for a day’.”
Bill C-21 has gone through its first reading, and if ulimately implemented would prohibit the purchase, sale, transfer, and importation of handguns.
Shemley said it targets the wrong people, law abiding citizens.
“So many people out there… don’t realize exactly how intensive the program to get to the point where you can buy a gun is.”
And when it comes to getting guns out of the hands of criminals, Shemley said, “The guy that’s going to go and rob the bank does not care if he’s breaking one more law in whatever else he’s doing. Gun owners follow the law; criminals, I mean they’re criminal, breaking another law or two really doesn’t matter.”
President of the Oceola Fish and Game Club Nick Kozub couldn’t agree more.
“What this is going to do, well the best way to explain it would be, if you have a bunch of sheep and a wolf that was taking out sheep, well if all the sheep decide to get rid of their teeth the wolf is still going to have his teeth. You’re still going to have criminals out there, they’re still going to have these guns… These aren’t legal guns in the first place.”
Kozub said he understands the fear factor for some, “Even Trudeau said it, why do we need guns. Well, for a lot of us it’s about more than just sport. For people to understand the enjoyment they get out of shooting is kind of the big missed part. If you take somebody who has never handled firearms before, you take them to the range, nine times out of 10 they are going to have a great time.”
He noted he has seen the occasional person leave the range fearful of the loud bangs, but it doesn’t happen often.
Kozub encourages the people pushing the bill to come to the range to see what they do, how safe it is and talk to the people who use handguns as part of their daily lives. He specified hunters filling their freezers to feed the family, farmers using firearms to put down suffering livestock, and those who just enjoy taking aim at the range.
Now is the perfect opportunity for it with National Range Day coming up on Saturday.
Both the Oceola Fish and Game Club and the Joe Rich Sportman’s Association are hosting open houses June 4, for people to learn how to safely handle a firearm.