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Almost a year after appointing a new CFO, Saskatchewan’s government says it’s close to assuming control of the province’s Chief Firearms Office.
Previously, the federal government ran the Canadian Firearms Program in Saskatchewan. When the federal government announced new gun control measures in early 2020, Saskatchewan’s leaders decided to take control. At that time, Saskatchewan’s Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said “We have many concerns about the decisions the federal government is making that affect law-abiding Saskatchewan firearms owners.”
Provincial leaders started this process by choosing and appointing a Chief Firearms Officer, instead of letting the feds do so. Saskatchewan ended up with Robert Freberg as CFO. Freberg served as an elected member of the National Board of Directors for the Canadian Sports Shooting Association (CSSA). He also has experience as an RPAL and PAL instructor. Freberg also worked with the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation for more than 40 years. With this practical experience, Freberg was considered an appointment friendly to law-abiding firearms owners.
Since Freberg’s appointment, the province has been working on taking control of the province’s firearms office. This includes logistical work such as preparing office space, and hiring and training staff. At this point, the process should be completed by September 2021.
“I look forward to working with the federal government, Canadian Firearms program and all of our provincial stakeholders to complete this important transition,” Freberg said in a press release. “I am deeply committed to supporting and promoting the long standing heritage of responsible firearms ownership in this province.”
Joining the club
Saskatchewan joins five other provinces that already manage the Canadian Firearms Program provincially. It’s the first province to make the transition from federal to provincial management.
It’s a sign of a widening divide between provinces and the federal government on the firearms issue. At this point some provinces (Saskatchewan, Alberta) are unhappy with Ottawa’s tightened restrictions. They’re moving to a more laissez-faire approach, managed provincially. On the other hand, you’ve got Quebec, which now runs its own provincial firearms registry since the national long gun registry was supposedly shut down. The closing statement in Saskatchewan’s press release is the perfect illustration of the disagreement: “The Government of Saskatchewan continues to oppose the federal government’s firearm control measures, including Bill C-21, which will do little to impact firearm related crime in our province, and unfairly targets law-abiding firearms owners.”