Congratulations to Christine Tell, Saskatchewan Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, for putting the federal government on notice.
Federal Firearm Seizure Agents must, within 45 days, pay fair market value compensation, as determined by the Saskatchewan Firearms Commissioner, to the individual from whom the firearm was seized.
5-3 If a firearm is seized from an owner pursuant to or for the purposes of enforcing a specified law, the person who conducts the seizure of the firearm must pay to the owner full compensation for the fair market value of the firearm…
Bill 117, The Saskatchewan Firearms Act[i], proposes to add six key elements to provincial law:
- Create a Saskatchewan Firearms Licence
- Define Rules and Requirements of SK Firearms Licencees
- Licence Firearm Seizure Agents
- Define Rules and Responsibilities for Seizure Agents, including
- Define Compensation Rules, including Fair Market Value for all firearms seized
- Require all seized firearms to go through ballistic testing before they are destroyed
Once passed, this legislation will require that agents who are collecting firearms that must be surrendered under the new federal ban, including any person or business contracted by the federal government, must be licensed by Saskatchewan’s Chief Firearms Officer.
“Seizure agent”, subject to subsection (2), means a person who is engaged by the Crown in right of Canada, whether as an employee, agent or otherwise, to carry out any of the following for the purposes of enforcing a specified law:
(a) the tracking of restricted firearms or prohibited firearms;
(b) the seizure and collection of restricted firearms and prohibited firearms;
(c) the storage of restricted firearms and prohibited firearms;
(d) the destruction or deactivation of restricted firearms and prohibited firearms;
The following persons are not seizure agents for the purposes of Part 4:
(a) the chief firearms officer;
(b) any firearms officer;
(c) the commissioner;
(d) any officers or constables of any police service, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
(e) any prescribed person or class of persons.
Additionally, “Every person that holds a valid licence pursuant to the Firearms Act (Canada) authorizing the individual to possess and acquire firearms and whose current address is in Saskatchewan is deemed to be the holder of a Saskatchewan firearms licence.”
“Legal firearms owners are not the ones committing crimes, so we’re looking at that aspect of it. We can’t have people just going out to residences and demanding a firearm. They must be licensed by the Province of Saskatchewan before they can consider confiscating that firearm,” Tell said after today’s Question Period.[ii]
“What this Firearms Act, in part, does is provides a provincial statute option not unlike we have with impaired driving. There are tandem provincial statutes to go along with impaired driving; this is the same thing,” Tell said.
“This Act will help address concerns of responsible firearms owners and enhance public safety across Saskatchewan,” said Minister Tell.[iii]
“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.”
Saskatchewan has already budged $3.2 million to
- develop a Saskatchewan Firearms Ballistics Lab to support police and provide timely access to “Saskatchewan-based ballistics and firearms expertise”
- establish a Firearms Compensation Committee to determine the fair market value of any firearms, ammunition and related accessories being expropriated by the federal government
- enhance training and education on safe storage and firearms licensing
- launch a made-in-Saskatchewan marketing campaign to promote firearm safety
“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.”
This latest salvo in defense of the Charter rights of Saskatchewan gun owners makes them a clear front-runner in for the title of “Freest Province in Canada.”