The government of Saskatchewan announced today that they'd be adopting a new firearms act to help protect the ownership of firearms in the province.
The Saskatchewan Firearms Act was introduced following a recent federal amendment to Bill C-21 which would ban many common rifles used by people in Saskatchewan.
"This Act will help address concerns of responsible firearms owners and enhance public safety across Saskatchewan," Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said. "We take public safety seriously and support initiatives that reduce the criminal use of firearms while preventing gang violence and stopping illegal guns from entering our province."
With respect to the federal government's amendment, the new act will seek to:
- establish licensing requirements for businesses or individuals involved in firearms expropriation
- require and oversee fair compensation for any firearms being seized
- require forensic and ballistic testing of seized firearms
Additionally, they'll look to establish a provincial firearms regulatory system that will "promote the safe and responsible use of firearms".
This legislation will be primarily administered by the Saskatchewan Firearms Office. The Office will also take on an expanded role in prosecuting non-violent regulatory firearms offenses.
"Since inception, the Saskatchewan Firearms Office has successfully handled public safety files and continues to work closely with police to ensure that gun safety laws are properly enforced," Chief Firearms Officer Robert Freberg said. "The enhanced mandate this legislation provides will expand our office's ability to promote responsible firearms use and improve community safety."
The government is also dedicating $3.2 million in this fiscal year to the funding of other firearm initiatives:
- establishing a Saskatchewan Firearms Ballistics Lab to support police services and provide timely access to Saskatchewan-based ballistics and firearms expertise
- establishing a Firearms Compensation Committee to determine the fair market value of any firearms, ammunition and related accessories being expropriated by the federal government
- enhancing training and education regarding safe storage and firearms licensing
- launching a made-in-Saskatchewan marketing campaign to promote firearm safety and best practices