Conservatives Axe Gun Show Laws on Advice of Controversial Committee

Article excerpt

Tories axe gun show laws

--

OTTAWA - The Conservative government has repealed gun show regulations, on the advice of the same controversial advisory committee the prime minister recently distanced himself from.

Meanwhile, Ontario's chief firearms officer says he fears the decision will eventually bring American-style gun-show problems to Canada.

The changes kill a set of rules that were introduced by the Liberals in 1998, but never brought into force after years of consultations and deferrals.

The regulations would have required the sponsor of a gun show to notify local police and the chief firearms officer of the province before an event, and to ensure the security and safety of the location and the firearms.

The government says it consulted Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee, which felt that gun owners already abided by a set of existing rules.

The decision was published Wednesday in the Canada Gazette, but did not appear on Public Safety Canada's website. It notes that MPs and senators were given 30 days to request changes to the repeal, but neither House did.

"Canada has a strong gun control system and we will not weaken these protections," said Julie Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

"The purchase, transport and storage of firearms continues to be strictly controlled in Canada and these strict rules apply to gun shows. Our government has taken concrete action to strengthen our laws and to stop violent crime and illegal firearms."

But earlier this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper candidly rejected some of the committee's recommendations to loosen other gun laws.

The Coalition for Gun Control has criticized the advisory committee for being stacked with gun enthusiasts including firearms dealers and representatives of the Canadian Sport Shooting Association. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has been unable to get on the committee.

Committee member Greg Farrant, of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, says under the Liberals the same group was stacked in the other direction -- with gun opponents. …