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Can you hear it—that womp-womp, sad horn sound? Once again, the federal firearms buyback program apparently failed to attract any bidders; no private company wants to design and manage the program, it seems. The government’s tender website still doesn’t list any interested suppliers, after the feds listed the opportunity a second time.

In May, the Liberal government announced it was banning a wide range of firearms, in the wake of the Portapique arson/shooting massacre. The list included sporting, tactical and hunting models. The government said the firearms were now prohibited, with a plan for the government to buy them off owners, and destroy them.

To accomplish that, the feds issued a tender through the BuyAndSell.gc.ca website, looking for a private partner to design, and possibly operate, the buyback program. The original tender appeared in early August, with no takers. A second tender went out in mid-October, with the same goal. Now, that one’s expired too, with no interested supplier listed. Maybe there’s something going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about, maybe not. On the surface, though, it seems the feds are back to the drawing board.

The question now is, what is the federal government’s next move? The most recent tender description said the government wanted the buyback program plans completed by March 31, 2021. Now, it’s been three months since the first tender went out, and it seems the feds can’t get any interested takers.

Possible options

There are at least three choices ahead. First, the government could post the tender again, perhaps with a modified timeline or some other changes. Maybe a company would bite this time.

Second, the federal government could design its own program—hand it off to some bureaucrats, and see what they come up with.

Third, the government could scrap the idea of a buyback, and go straight to confiscation with no compensation. This third option is probably what Canadian firearms owners are most concerned about. It’s doubtful any compensation plan would every pay fair market value for a kitted-out tactical rifle. However, some sort of remuneration would be preferable to none, for many owners.

Stay tuned on this one, as we’ll likely see some sort of government announcement on the process in coming weeks.

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