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PRRD wants region municipalities to weigh-in on Bill C-21 first before their decision

DC Sportsman's president pleased with PRRD decision. "More eyes on this is always nice."
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DC Sportsman’s Club President Andy Waddell says he is glad to see PRRD directors are looking to the future when it comes Federal Bill C-21.

“Yes, it is better to be pro-active than reactive,” he said in reaction to PRRD director’s Thursday decision to have member municipalities will weigh in individually on Bill C-21 before regional directors make a decision either way.

Waddell recently sent a letter to the PRRD looking for support in rejection Federal Bill C-21.

“The Federal government recently tabled legislation (Bill C-21) that authorizes municipal governments to pass a bylaw that would prohibit the storage and transportation of handguns within their jurisdiction. This proposed legislation is legally flawed. It uses the criminal code to circumvent the constitutional prerogatives of provincial governments. Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have already signaled that they oppose this measure,” reads the letter.

PRRD chair Brad Sperling said Thursday the decision to find out what other governments in the Peace region thought made sense.

“I would not mind hearing what our members have to say.”

Waddell pointed to the looming handgun ban suggested by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

He added that the business community also needs to be considered, with several firearms providers in the region.

“Unfortunately, all it takes is for it to happen once,  it becomes a patchwork of you can use your gun here, but you can’t use it here,” noted Waddell.

PRRD directors largely agreed with Waddell’s letter and discussed it at their May 27 board meeting. 

Area E Director Dan Rose said multiple municipal handgun bylaws would be difficult to navigate.

“My concern with this is the overreach, but not only that, it’ll create zones that people will not be aware of,” said Rose at the meeting. “I think in general, opposition should be for consistency in laws across the country and the province, that we’re not in favour of this.”

Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead said handguns are already highly regulated, with no need for municipal input.

“I have no interest in getting into an issue that’s already being regulated and dealt with federally,” said Bumstead. “I see no reason why a municipality or the regional district would want to be involved in any aspect of that.”

The City of Dawson Creek has the item on their Monday agenda.

tsummer@ahnfsj.ca