Credits: WILLIAM STODALKA/COLD LAKE SUN/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - Rifle enthusiasts celebrating the destruction of most long-gun registry files last week have more to cheer about after the government again deferred a plan gun-control advocates say would combat illegal arms trafficking.
Opponents argue the United Nations protocol signed by a previous Liberal government would drive up the cost of guns by as much as $200 apiece, killing jobs and creating more red tape in an already overregulated industry.
Proponents argue ignoring the framework is a step backwards to trace traffickers of guns to civil wars and Third World conflicts - some of which end up in the hands of local criminals.
The protocol - on hold until December 2013 - would require all imported guns to be marked with the name of the country and year of import. It's at least the fourth time the government has punted the regulation since taking office in 2006.
QMI Agency learned of the latest postponement after obtaining a briefing note to Conservative MPs from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews dated Nov. 2.
Toews said he is listening to sports-gun owners, retailers, distributors and importers who say the cost to engrave importation markings on new firearms would come after the manufacturing process and be passed down to buyers.
"We have heard the concerns and will not be moving forward until consultations have occurred," caucus was told.
The Canadian National Firearms Association (NFA) welcomed the delay.
"There was significant concern in from both firearms businesses and members of the firearms community as well as many MPs about the need to go forward with a regulatory scheme brought in by a previous government when that scheme would add significant cost to products and damage the economy of an already over-regulated business," said NFA president Sheldon Clare.
A spokesperson for the Coalition For Gun Control wouldn't comment, but on its website the anti-gun lobby suggests the government has no intention of ever complying.
"After eliminating registration and records of sales, Canada has now eliminated yet another tracing mechanism for firearms and appears to have given up completely complying with the UN Firearms Protocol and with providing police with effective ways to trace guns found in crime and fight illegal gun trafficking."