Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s sweeping ban on tens of thousands of legally owned firearms, announced on Friday, isn’t going over well in many parts of the country. In Ottawa, premier Doug Ford blasted the move during a Saturday press conference, telling reporters that the ban will have a far bigger impact on legal gun owners than it will on violent criminals.

He said he would rather see the millions planned for the gun buyback program go instead toward beefing up border security to stop guns from being illegally smuggled into Canada.

“I can’t help but think that money could be put at a much better use hunting down the violent criminals and stopping the illegal guns at our borders,” he said.

Ottawa’s priority should be strengthening bail conditions and jail sentences for criminals and gang members who commit gun crimes, he added. Ford said he finds it “frustrating” that weapons offenders are often back on the streets within a few days of being arrested and that some receive sentences of only a year or two.

“The problem is not the legal gun owners, we need to target the smugglers and we need to throw the book at these gangsters out there terrorizing our streets,” he said.

“Throw the key away with these people if they get caught with guns, don’t give them a slap on the wrist and then try to point the finger at legal, law abiding gun owners.”

Other provincial leaders are sounding off as well, including Alberta premier Jason Kenney, who says lawmakers are looking at all possible responses to Trudeau’s edict.

“Ottawa is singling out law-abiding Canadians who purchased their property legally, have owned these items safely for years, and who have committed no crimes,” Kenney said in a statement.

“We know that the overwhelming majority of firearms used criminally in Canada are smuggled in illegally from the United States. Instead of addressing this, Ottawa will instead spend vast sums of money to criminalize law-abiding Canadians. That money would be far better used to pursue the smugglers and drug gangs that plague our society,” added Kenney.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe joined the chorus of disappointment.

“I am extremely disappointed by (Friday’s) announcement by the federal government of a firearms ban that only serves to penalize law-abiding gun owners,” Moe said.

Canada’s largest gun owners organizations are also lashing out at the Trudeau government, with several of them, including the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, demanding the resignation of the architect of the Trudeau gun grab and the withdrawal of the firearms ban.

On May 1, 2020, CSSA participated in briefings with officials from Public Safety, CBSA, Global Affairs, RCMP and the Department of Justice. An examination of the new regulations showed a clear lack of understanding of the subject matter and that little care was taken in the preparation of these documents.

Officials from these departments were unable to provide a working definition of the firearms that were placed on the “banned” list and displayed a shocking ignorance of current laws.  They were unable to answer simple question about how the current ban would dovetail with the prohibitions contained in Bill C-71, legislation passed eleven months ago.

Further to this, it was claimed that the Minister, Bill Blair, had ruled that the firearms contained on the list were unsuitable for sport or hunting, despite the fact the government of Canada had been providing transport permits for the “purposes of sport shooting” for well over 30 years. Many of the firearms that were claimed to be unsuitable for hunting were given exemptions for First Nation Canadians so they could continue to use them for hunting, a clear violation of Canada’s constitution.

Since all transport of the newly prohibited firearms is not permitted within the two-year amnesty period, owners of these firearms will find themself in serious legal jeopardy should they move residences.

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association feels the Prime Minister and Canadians have been poorly served by Minister Blair and call for his immediate removal from this portfolio. We also demand the immediate withdrawal of this flawed Order in Council.

While Trudeau’s order took immediate effect on Friday after his announcement, the gun ban comes with a two year amnesty period for gun owners to either hand over their banned firearms in exchange for some cash, or potentially apply to have their firearms grandfathered in and maintain possession of their prohibited firearms. There’s still a great amount of confusion over how that portion of the Canadian gun grab will ultimately be implemented. Unlike Trudeau’s decision to reclassify 1,500 makes and models of firearms from “restricted” to “prohibited,” which was done without a vote in Parliament, any money spent on compensating Canadian gun owners for their confiscated firearms will have to be approved by lawmakers.

One thing we haven’t heard much discussion about yet is the potential for a lawsuit. Orders in council like Trudeau’s ban can be challenged in court, and separate lawsuits could be filed over any bills approved by Parliament to help with the enforcement of the ban. The Canadian Shooting Sports Association hinted at one avenue of legal attack by noting that some of the firearms now prohibited to own are still legal for First Nation Canadians to use to hunt, even though Trudeau stated that one of the reasons he’s banning the guns to begin with is that, in his opinion, these aren’t firearms that are suited for hunting.

Trudeau got his desired headlines on Friday, but moving forward, his ban is likely to generate more headaches for him than anything else as federal and provincial lawmakers, along with Canada’s gun owners, push back on the ban any way they can.