FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 12, 2024
WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is calling on the Yukon Liberal government to take action to protect the rights of hunters and other firearms owners by developing a Yukon Firearms Act. In concert with the act’s development, the Yukon Party is also calling for the establishment of a territorially appointed Chief Firearms Officer position for the Yukon.
These actions are necessary in response to the federal Liberal government’s passing of Bill C-21, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s intention to confiscate lawfully acquired firearms from innocent Yukoners through the so-called gun ‘buy-back’ program.
“The vast majority of gun violence in Canada and the Yukon involve illegal guns – mostly in connection to organized crime and the illegal drug trade,” said Justice Critic Brad Cathers. “Confiscating firearms from innocent people who acquired their private property lawfully is unjust and will do nothing to address the real causes of gun violence. The National Police Federation, the union representing RCMP members, has also publicly stated that the gun ‘buy-back’ and the Trudeau government’s May 2020 order-in-council will divert police resources from where they are needed most.”
Developing a Yukon Firearms Act to protect the rights of law-abiding firearms owners should begin by considering the legislation passed in Alberta and Saskatchewan for that purpose and working with local stakeholders and the public to improve and adapt that model to meet the needs of Yukoners. One feature of this proposed legislation would be to create regulation-making powers and territorial licencing requirements for firearms agents that can be used to prevent the implementation of the federally imposed firearms ‘buy-back’ program and any other confiscation program.
A Yukon Firearms Act should also establish a territorially appointed Chief Firearms Officer who has jurisdiction over the licensing, storage, transportation, and carrying of firearms, as well as licensing instructors to provide firearm safety training in the Yukon. Currently, the Yukon is served by a federally appointed Chief Firearms Officer for BC, and the Yukon based in Surrey, BC.
“Effective firearms legislation should not target law-abiding Canadian firearms owners; it should be focused on criminals and illegal weapons,” said Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon. “It is time to develop territorial firearms legislation for Yukoners that reflects life in the north and mandates a Yukon-based Chief Firearms Officer to help promote firearms safety and ensure all rules with respect to firearms ownership are followed.”
To begin this work, the Yukon Party Official Opposition is calling on the territorial Liberal government to begin by consulting with First Nations and stakeholders including the Yukon Fish and Game Association, Yukon Trappers Association, Yukon Outfitters Association, Whitehorse Rifle and Pistol Club, Yukon Handgun Association, the Yukon RCMP, and with the public.