Saskatoon gun store has extra headaches with new regulations

A Saskatoon gun store owner says he doesn’t support the federal government’s new firearm regulations that add more steps to the process of buying a gun.

“This always creates a bit of a black cloud over firearm ownership when the government is going after regulating what you want in your home and what you’ve had in your home for 50 years without a problem of any sort,” said Kevin Kopp, owner of North Pro Sports.

As of Wednesday, people and businesses transferring or selling a non-restricted firearm need to confirm the recipient’s identity and check the validity of their firearms licence with the registrar beforehand. Businesses must also keep records of inventory and sales related to non-restricted firearms.

Kopp said while his store can still get customers in and out fairly quickly, the process of record-keeping is time-consuming for staff and comes at a cost.

“It’s a lot of extra work for us, not the consumer coming in ... we have to buy all of the new record-keeping equipment, whether it be computers, whether it be databases, whether it be obviously logbooks and the labour and time to do it,” he told CTV News.

Kopp said it also raises concerns about privacy for customers, adding that his store saw a huge rush of customers in the days leading up to the new law coming into effect.

“If someone was maybe thinking the last six months, pondering, it sped up their decision process.”

Kopp said anyone who purchases a gun at North Pro Sports or any other gun store in the country will be added to that store’s registry and that none of that information goes to the government.

According to the government, police will need reasonable grounds, and often a court-approved warrant, to gain access to these business records.

The new regulations represent the latest step toward implementing Bill C-71.

When the measures were announced last week, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said they will make it easier for law enforcement to investigate and track gun crime, and that many businesses are already recording those sales.

“These new rules will ensure that those people who aren’t allowed or shouldn’t have access to a gun can’t get one and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands,” he told a news conference attended by advocates who have long pushed for stricter provisions last week.

Kopp said Canada is one of the best countries when it comes to gun safety as it is already highly regulated, and that he feels the new regulations target the law-abiding.

“We’re of the feeling that it’s more regulation and more government intrusion into well, privacy for one. With the goal being public safety, it’s hard to see how it will make the public more safe,” he said.

“The criminals are out there, criminals are using guns, the criminals are in the news. The law-abiding people aren’t in the news, they aren’t committing these crimes, yet we’re the ones they seem to go after time after time.”

--With files from The Canadian Press