By Larry Keane
Canada’s gun confiscation plan is getting a chilly reception from America’s northern neighbors. Even the guy Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put in charge of confiscating more than 2 million firearms from his fellow Canadians is at a loss to explain how it will be done.
President-elect Joe Biden might want to take notes. Canada’s gun confiscation horse hasn’t even left the barn and it’s tripping all over itself. No one knows how much it will cost and no one knows who will confiscate guns from law-abiding Canadians. Canadians are not their normally pleasant selves over these developments.
The foresight of James Madison to ensure this God-given right was included in the Bill of Rights can’t be overstated. Neither can one overstate the folly of Biden thinking he can confiscate 20 million firearms from law-abiding Americans whose right to keep and bear those firearms is Constitutionally protected.
Canadian gun confiscation is starting out as an abysmal failure and only promises to get worse. Thinking it would be any easier, cheaper or politically-expedient to do this in the United States is absurd. Suggesting it as a national policy is an insult to the Constitution both President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will swear (again) to protect when sworn in next month.
Not the Mounties
Minister Blair said it would be too expensive and inefficient for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to run the effort to round-up the more than 1,500 models of firearms covered by Prime Minister Trudeau’s executive action announced without comment, debate or a vote by the Canadian Parliament. Conservative Minister of Parliament (MP) Glen Motz asked Minister Blair how this confiscation would occur and what the associated costs would be. Minister Blair scoffed at the police performing the unpopular task but sidestepped giving a price tag.
MP Motz is still chiding him for an answer. “$2 billion? $5 billion? How much will the firearm confiscation plan cost?” Motz wrote in a tweet. “@BillBlair won’t say, probably cause he has no idea!”
The real reason Minister Blair won’t be asking for Canada’s Mounties to take the task is because they’re balking that it will actually do anything to reduce crime.
The national police union representing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the National Police Federation, doesn’t support confiscation. Instead, they urge the Canadian Parliament to adopt “… a combination of better legislation, better funding, and evidence-based solutions that we believe are necessary…” The police union noted that the uptick in criminal misuse of firearms in Canada is connected to gang activity and the guns being used illegally by those criminals are already banned in Canada.
Brian Sauvé, president of the National Police Federation, said they would rather enforce laws that are evidence-based, that addresses the root causes of the criminal activity instead of targeting law-abiding gun owners.
Not Just the Mounties
It’s not just the RCMP that’s disinterested in taking on the Herculean task of rounding up guns from their fellow citizens. Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which holds power, failed to secure a private-sector contractor to design the confiscation scheme – or “buyback” as the Liberal Party labels it. Canada’s procurement office issued two separate requests for proposals (RFPs) to run the confiscation without a nibble from an interested bidder. The Canadian government even tried name-shaming potential bidders, accounting firms Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP and Ernst & Young LLP didn’t’ bite.
The contract offer, which closed out in early November, was reportedly worth $78 million.
Gun control advocates are shouting that delays in implementing the confiscation are risking the whole gun control plan. Heidi Rathjen, coordinator of the group PolySeSouvient, wants the ban implemented now, but wants to expand it. Her group now wants to limit firearm magazines to five rounds, grant police easier access to commercial firearm sales data, spend money to boost government monitoring of gun license applicants and licensed owners and end the manufacture and importation of handguns into Canada.
PolySeSouvient is also calling for the gun ban list to be “evergreen.” That means the list isn’t static but grows without intentional addition. One news outlet compared it to when smartphones automatically update overnight without the users’ action. The list would be the same way, except this would be law-abiding gun owners waking up as unwitting felons because the law changed overnight without public notice, debate or input.
A court challenge to the Canadian gun confiscation plan is pending with a decision expected in January on whether the scheme can go forward or if it should be temporarily suspended while wider court actions proceed.
This is all too chilling to Canadian gun owners. It’s also a cautionary tale for American gun owners to not take their Second Amendment for granted. The magnitude of firearm ownership in America dwarfs that of Canada. The costs and bureaucracy would dwarf the billions Canada is expected to pay.
The actions President-elect Biden proposed aren’t really any different than what Canada is witnessing now. Here, though, it is unconstitutional.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.