Canadian government seeks private contractors in AR-15 confiscation effort

Canada is seeking to outsource the work of confiscating firearms to tens of thousands of Canadians.

Public Safety Canada issued a Request for Information (RFI) last month to gauge the interest of companies willing to support the government’s upcoming mandatory “assault weapons” buyout. The agency, which is tasked with implementing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s forfeiture order, said it needed help carrying out the task.

“The main objective of this program is to safely buy these newly prohibited (NPF) firearms back into society, while providing fair compensation to businesses and lawful owners affected by the ban,” the RFI reads. “As such, [Public Safety] is seeking industry support on a number of key program elements.

The “key elements” of the program for which the government is seeking private sector support include “collection and transport, tracking, storage solutions, packaging inspection, destruction and recycling after destruction”.

The RFI provides insight into how the Canadian government can execute the confiscation order issued in May 2020. The RFI suggests that it considers contracting out most of the work surrounding the confiscation and destruction of weapons to private companies newly prohibited fires rather than government officials. It is also the latest instance of Canadian officials relying on private sector support to plan the confiscation program. The government had previously contracted with IBM Canada Ltd. to help it design and implement a viable confiscation program, which resulted in a bloated budget and few details on a concrete plan.

Rod Giltaca, executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Gun Rights, said Reloading that the current ruling party’s reliance on the private sector to work out the logistics of the takeover is a sign that it is unworkable.

“The Liberals’ repeated appeals to the private sector are a response to the fact that no government agency is equipped to execute their confiscation scheme,” he said. “I think a few told them. That leaves them with an empty bag of promises made over two years ago.

Setbacks in developing a concrete plan have already caused Canadian officials to extend the amnesty period for affected gun owners from April 2022 to October 2023. In the meantime, most gun owners guns in possession of newly prohibited firearms have not surrendered their weapons.

New details were revealed last month when Public Safety Canada released a proposed price list for recently banned weapons to buy by make and model. The prices offered range from $1,139 for a VZ-58 rifle to $6,209 for an SG550 and SG551.

Buyback price list on Public Safety Canada website / Screenshot

“Put simply, assault-type firearms, like the AR-15, have no place in Canada,” Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said of the price list. in a press release. “By design, their goal is to kill as many people as possible, which is why our government has taken the bold step of banishing them from our country, once and for all. [The] The proposed price list represents another step towards removing these dangerous firearms from Canadian communities while ensuring that current firearm owners are fairly compensated.

Giltaca said Reloading the timing of the price list release seems interesting, given that other details of the buyout have yet to be made official.

“From what we understand, there are various obstacles that are causing the government to fail in this regard,” he said. “But yet they are rolling out a price list detailing what they are willing to pay for confiscated firearms. It certainly seems to us that this list serves the same purpose as the confiscation program itself, to give the impression that the government is doing something when in fact it is not doing anything.

American gun rights advocates, watching with particular southern interest, have noted how poorly the confiscation effort appears to be going.

“So far, few of the proposed programs seem functional, even on paper,” the National Rifle Association said. wrote on his site this week.

The NRA said the RFI appeared to be an attempt to offload the responsibility for implementing the confiscation program onto private contractors and questioned why the Trudeau government was “seeking to step aside as much as possible” from the work of gathering the firearms that he banned.

“A cynical guess is that Trudeau, who offers a ‘sunny ways’ governance mantra, is keen to put as much daylight as possible between him and the toxic, defining moment of his gun ban and confiscation agenda. mandatory, the shameful point where thousands of farmers, hunters, sport shooters, veterans and other responsible Canadians are forced to surrender their property for immediate destruction,” the NRA said.

Meanwhile, the Canadian firearms industry has decried the proposed price list as insufficiently low to capture the fair market value of banned guns.

“The proposed ratings are insulting,” said the Canadian Sporting Arms & Ammunition Association, an industry trade group. said in a press release. “Licenced gun owners are being offered paltry compensation. What level of compliance is expected from people when they are to receive a fraction of what they spent their money on after tax? »

Giltaca agreed and criticized the list for failing to consider the range of possible values ​​for an entire class of firearms.

“The list talks about a family of guns worth the same amount of money,” he said. “So an AR-15 that sells for $2,800 will fetch the owner the same price as an AR rifle that sells for $750. It will be $1,337 for everyone.

The buyback program stems from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s regulation prohibiting the sale and possession of 1,500 “assault weapons” by make and model. It was enacted in response to a high profile shooting in Nova Scotia where a gunman used weapons obtained illegally murder 22 people.

The government estimates that approximately 72,000 gun owners and 105,000 firearms are affected by the policy.

Public Services and Procurement Canada, the department that issued the RFIs, did not respond to a request for comment.