Semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Elaine Thompson.)

RDBN takes aim at firearm ban, sends letter to Trudeau expressing disapproval of OIC

Regional District voted unanimously to send letter urging Liberals to reconsider process

For the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN), the Liberals’ recent ban on certain models of “military-style” weapons seems to have missed the mark.

That’s after the RDBN Board, spurred by a motion made by Director Clint Lambert (Electoral Area E — Francois/Ootsa Lake Rural) at their May 7 meeting voted unanimously to draft and send a letter to the Prime Minister expressing disapproval of the means by which the recent legislation was put into place.

Speaking to the motion, Lambert said he had received numerous calls from individuals who indicated they were concerned about the manner in which the law was passed and felt an opportunity for constituents to provide adequate feedback was not given.

On May 1, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used an Order in Council (OIC) — an instrument of the Privy Council to enact law that does not require legislation by Parliament — to ban some 1,500 models of firearms deemed “military style” by the minority government. This followed the 2020 Nova Scotia attacks, where Gabriel Wortman killed 22 and injured three others in the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history.

READ MORE: BV Rod and Gun Club responds to federal gun ban

Since then, many government figures, ranging from Conservative party hopeful Erin O’Toole to various municipalities across the country, have denounced the legislation as unconstitutional, pushed through without Parliament in a time where the nation was faced both with the deadliest shooting in its history and a global pandemic.

“The Board is of the opinion that the firearms ban should have gone through the normal process of being debated by the elected representatives of Canada and approved by both the House of Commons and the Senate, and by the Crown, rather than by an Order in Council,” reads the drafted letter to Justin Trudeau in the RDBN’s May 21 agenda.

“The Board believes the ban was undemocratically imposed without an opportunity to debate during a pandemic [and] urges the Federal Government to reconsider the process in which the firearms ban was imposed.”

At least one Conservative leadership hopeful has said he would redraft firearms legislation if the Conservatives win the next federal election, with O’Toole making the claim shortly after the gun ban was announced.

Likewise, at least one firearm group has taken legal action in response to the OIC. The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights is taking the federal government to court to challenge the new laws on constitutional grounds and says gun statistics in Canada back up their claim that the laws prior to May 1 were working.

Meanwhile, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach has echoed the sentiment that the law should not have been passed through an OIC and that law enforcement experts, not politicians, should be making the specific recommendations for models of guns to be banned.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has previously called for a reimagining of gun legislation which would give municipalities the ability to ban handguns.
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