Recent tragic events both south of the border and up north have spurred a resurgence in the conversation and action around firearms, and the laws encompassing them.
The introduction of Bill C-71, which is now in the Senate, prompted both favor and outrage. It was primarily the latter in the rural parts of Saskatchewan, with many calling it a subversive tactic to reinstate the Long Gun Registry.
"It is just another registration that we got rid of. Now, they're putting the onus on the gun sellers instead of the government to do it. That's really all it is, is a gun registry," said Lionel Bender, a local firearms instructor, adding that he believes the primary motive is probably appeasing the big city dwellers.
"In the big cities, they have no idea what it's like in the rural areas. All it is is bothering legalized hunting or storing of guns. It's not going to help them a bit in keeping them out of the hands of criminals."
The elements of the Bill include enhancing the background checks on those applying for a license; private transfers and purchases will require the buyer to show their license and the seller to call in and confirm that the license is indeed valid; retailers will be required to keep detailed records of their sales and inventories; the ATT (Authorization To Transport) papers will return, along with tighter rules on transportation, and; the legal classification of the firearms will be handed wholly over to the RCMP's discretion.
While many folks hail the changes as essential in this day and age to avoid the type of shootings experienced in the U.S, the opponents point to the increased record keeping as simply a back door to reinstating the registry, despite the government's denial. Some question whether the tighter background checks are fair and the ATT necessary, while others say that the result will be civil disarmament.
"It cost us what we call a 'boondoggle', it cost the taxpayers of this country billions of dollars and it didn't do a thing, whatsoever. Just a hassle for people who wanted to keep their firearms. A lot of them just got out of it altogether, they just started getting back into it now, and this is going to ruin it again," Bender expressed.
"The criminals aren't worried about registering that firearm whatsoever. They're going to get one, no matter what happens."