The Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau enacted the prohibitions of 1500 makes and models of semi-automatic rifles via an Order-in-council. It came as no surprise as I knew long before now that the Liberal Party of Canada does not care about the rights and freedoms of Canadians when it comes to gun ownership. I am a gun owner–I started handling guns in 1969 when I was eight years old. My father gave me and my siblings our first lessons in the safe handling of firearms. He bought a .22 calibre pellet rifle and taught us how to handle safely, take aim and shoot at targets in our back garden. While my siblings did not take up an interest in guns, I am a lifelong enthusiast for firearms and hunting. My dad gave me my first shotgun, a Savage hammerless single shot in 16 gauge, back in 1975 when I was fourteen. I had to wait until I was fifteen and completed the Hunter Safety Course and pass the safety test before I got my first hunting license. Once certified as a licensed hunter in 1976, I took to the field with my single shot 16 gauge shotgun and never looked back.
I amassed a collection of rifles and shotguns over the years for my hunting hobby–none of which are semi-automatics. The reasons I do not have any semi-automatic guns in my collection are twofold: First, I am left-handed. Gun manufacturers produce rifles and shotguns with semi-automatic actions with right-handed shooters as their template. There are left-hand models available in some cases, but they are generally hard to come by and more expensive. I found that I prefer double-barrelled shotguns (over and under and side-by-side) for upland gunning. I swear by the Browning BPS pump-action shotgun for waterfowl hunting. The BPS loads and ejects through the bottom and has the safety catch mounted on the tang of the gun. Left-handed and right-handed gunners alike can easily use the BPS. I use both right-hand and left-hand bolt-action rifles for hunting small game, varmints and big game. I have no semi-automatic rifles or shotguns in my collection, so you might think that I am unaffected by the prohibitions imposed by the Trudeau government. You might think this is true–however, it concerns me as a gun owner that the men and women who own the affected semi-automatic guns are being mistreated.
Of those people who are affected by the prohibitions, are two of my hunting buddies: Jason Quinn and James Joseph Burnside. Jason and I have been friends and hunting buddies for several years. James is one of my newer hunting buddies. I choose my hunting buddies carefully–as do Jason and James. Both men are firearms aficionados–they sure know their guns. They have the aptitude for working with their hands–they understand the engineering and mechanics of the plurality of firearms and their actions. Both have RPALs, as they have pistols and long guns in their collections that are in the restricted category in Canadian law. They conscientiously observe the safety protocols for gun ownership and hunting. We trust each other with our lives when we take to the field for hunting and to the shooting range for target practice. Ours is a happy and productive hunting partnership.
Jason is a family man–he and his wife Fran are raising their daughter Rose. Fran is also an enthusiastic big game hunter. She joins us in the field for deer season, and she is a crack shot with her custom Cooper bolt-action rifle in .243 calibre. Jason has a lifelong passion for guns and hunting, and it is his talent for engineering–he is a civil engineer–that gives him such an impressive ability to work with firearms and their accessories. I rely on Jason’s expertise when I need to have a scope installed on a new hunting rifle. He advises me on the make, model and calibre of hunting rifles to buy and helps me with the more detailed aspects of proper gun maintenance. I enjoy accompanying Jason to the shooting range to try out some of his restricted guns. Though I do not share his enthusiasm for gun collecting–I stand with him in defence of his freedom to own and use the guns in his collection singled out by the prohibitions.
My forte is in raising and training hunting dogs for use in upland gunning. That and I have amassed an expansive knowledge of gunning for upland birds and waterfowl. My hunting buddies appreciate my skill at writing when I publish accounts of our hunting experiences in my hunting diary. Just as Jason shares his knowledge and expertise for firearms with me, I pitch in–sharing my knowledge and expertise in gunning for grouse and woodcock in the uplands and duck and goose hunting in fields and marshes. Jason is a seasoned deer hunter also. Through my friendship and hunting partnership with Jason, I took up deer hunting. Under his tutelage, I shot three deer to date, including a nine-point buck! Deer hunting is a steep learning curve and poses many challenges. Every season, with Jason to guide me in my development as a deer hunter, I am becoming more proficient as a deer hunter.
James is one of my newer hunting buddies. We started hunting together in the 2019 seasons. What impressed me about James is his encyclopedic knowledge of firearms. It came as no surprise that James is a young Serviceman. He is a rifleman in the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders infantry regiment. Currently, he is stationed at CFB Borden as he was called up for service with the regular force to help out in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. James knows his guns–make no mistake about it. He learned to shoot and took up hunting from his late father. I try my best to follow when James explains in intricate detail the mechanics of the full range of pistols, rifles and shotguns he owns. I do not have the aptitude for such technical detail. James shares my enthusiasm for upland gunning and waterfowling as I happily introduced him to the pleasures of grouse and woodcock hunting last season. He bagged his first woodcock on the opening day of the season last year.
Yes, my friends and hunting buddies, Jason and James, are but two of the millions of Canadian gun owners who are affected by the prohibitions announced by the Liberal government. Honestly, what have they done to deserve this? James is a Serviceman–the arbitrary bans imposed by the Liberal government are the thanks he gets for his service to Canada? It is bad enough that Canadian gun owners are the target of this shameful treatment by their government–but what of those Canadians who want to get into gun collecting, hunting and shooting sports? As I said earlier in this essay, you might think that I am unaffected by the prohibitions imposed by the Trudeau government–but you had better think again. The course of action taken by the Liberal government affects not just Canadian gun owners, but all Canadians unfairly. Canadians are a free people, and the capricious imposition of an illiberal policy on Canadians has no place in a free and open society.
Posted by Geoffrey