First stage of buyback moving ahead

by Jeff Helsdon | May 5, 2023
gun buyback collage

The first stage of the buyback of what the government calls “military-style assault rifles” will involve industry and retailers.

This does not mean that industry or retailers will be involved in the buyback program from individuals, but that gun retailers stuck with inventory that includes firearms on the list of 1,500 originating from the 2020 order-in-council will receive compensation. This will be facilitated with the assistance of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA), the group representing industry. CSAAA will identify the existing inventory held by businesses and assist in assigning a value.

Buyback stalling stock

CSAAA president Wes Winkel said retailers have been sitting on this inventory for nearly three years. Sending it back is not an option and they’ve had to pay insurance on it, provide storage space, pay interest on the money used to purchase the inventory if it was borrowed and include it in their annual inspections from the Chief Firearms Office, which takes time.

Winkel said CSAAA had two options: not have anything to do with it or let another entity take part in setting values on the guns. The solution to take part on it was decided by a vote of members, which includes industry and retail. Some retailers are sitting up to $1 million in inventory of these guns and it’s costing $30,000 to $40,000 per year for insurance.

“We’re dragged along kicking and screaming,” he said. “We don’t want this but we’re in a reality where we need it because these guns have been sitting on our shelves since May 2020.”

In the wake of the April 26 announcement, Canada’s National Firearms Association announced it was severing ties with CSAAA.

“We cannot be part of an organization that puts a price tag on the rights, freedoms, and property of Canadians, regardless of how benign or well-meaning the motivations for that may be,” said NFA President Rick Igercich.

OFAH comments

Mark Ryckman of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) reiterated government money would be better spent going after gun smuggling and gang violence.

“This announcement is really just addressing the low-hanging fruit — the current inventory held by gun dealers,” he said. “Any attempt to confiscate firearms from individuals will be exponentially more difficult, which is probably why the 2023 federal budget still doesn’t set aside any money for compensating gun owners.”

“The industry has to do what the industry has to do,” said Tony Bernardo of CSSA. “This is outside the purview of the CSSA.”

There was no comment from the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights.

CSAAA compensated

As part of the deal with the government, CSAAA will receive up to $700,000 for costs associated with administration.

Winkel said there has been consumer backlash and emphasized CSAAA will have nothing to do with the consumer portion of the government program.

“It’s a real tough spot,” he said. “There is no right answer.”

The government news release said the industry phase is expected to start this year with the portion for gun owners following. It said the CSAAA will not be involved in the second phase, but government will be working with many partners, including a “close partnership with local police of jurisdiction.”

Raquel Dancho, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Public Safety, spoke about Bill C-21 at the CSSA fundraiser.

“We need to stay united, they are trying to divide us,” she said.

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  1. Neil Woods wrote: The liberals, completely asinine. Not only do they not know what they are doing, they are doing it with our money.