If you’re among Canada’s legal gun owners, you have undoubtedly heard about the government’s new OIC (Order-in-Council) ban on over 1,500 different rifles. This ban includes many of the most popular sporting and competition firearms. This got us wondering: what kind of impact will the ban have on our sports shooting community? Here’s a look at three ways the OIC ban could impact shooting sports in Canada.
- The first and potentially most impactful part is specifically the ban of the AR-15 and its variants. Many competitions―including the International Practical Shooting Confederation events, and the 3-gun tournaments―require an AR-15 or some variant to compete. Since May 1, 2020, when the original list of banned guns was announced, more and more firearms continue to be added. This includes many shotguns that have a similar “aesthetic” to the AR-15, also commonly used in these competitions and practices. With the new limited availability of semi-automatic sporting rifles in Canada, the OIC ban could negatively impact the growth and competitiveness of Candian shooting sports. Historically, Canadians are among the world’s best marksmen and markswomen.
- When it comes to shooting sports in Canada, the OIC ban could disproportionately increase barriers to entry for new shooters, especially female and youth shooters. Many of the now-banned firearms were popular among new shooters for target practice, due to their lightweight, low recoil, great ergonomics, and easy handling. These characteristics made them the go-to choice for introducing new practitioners to target shooting sports and competitions. Will the ban drive new shooters away? We’ll have to keep an eye on the sports statistics.
- For the sports shooting community, the OIC could also limit access to firearm models not currently affected by the ban. How? The list of banned firearms continues to grow. The Ministry of Public Safety stated “There is also a risk that affected firearms owners may elect to replace their firearms with models unaffected by the ban, causing a market displacement. This risk may be mitigated by adding additional makes and models to the list of prohibited firearms in the future.” There is also concern that any new models made to replace the now banned models will, ultimately, also be added to the list. This could exacerbate the sport shooting community’s already extremely limited access to proper sporting and competition rifle platforms.
If reducing gun violence and crime is truly the ultimate goal of this new ban, all of us legal gun owners can only hope for the best possible outcomes. But will banning certain firearms from legal ownership actually reduce gun violence and crime? By definition, criminals don’t obey the laws, regardless of how the laws change (on the other hand, in Canada, legal gun owners do. We get background checked every single day). Or will the ban negatively impact the sports shooting community and our ability to produce competitive international sports shooters? Only time will tell.
While we’re on this topic, there’s a House of Commons Canada petition against the OIC ban. It’s currently open for signatures until September 2, 2020. Remarkably, it’s also the most popular petition in Canada’s history. Suffice it to say, we’ve signed it.