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INT’L – GUN CONTROL – Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

OTTAWA — The federal government is turning to the private sector to design and possibly help run a massive buyback of newly prohibited firearms. Public Safety Canada has invited 15 consulting firms to come up with a “range of options and approaches” for the planned program to compensate gun owners. The Liberals outlawed a wide range of firearms in early May, saying the guns were designed for the battlefield, not hunting or sport shooting. The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons, meaning they can no longer be legally used, sold or imported. In announcing the ban, the government proposed a program that would allow current owners to receive compensation for turning in the designated firearms or keep them through an exemption process yet to be worked out. Sport shooters, firearm rights advocates and some Conservative MPs have questioned the value of the measures in fighting crime. The group PolySeSouvient, a leading proponent of stricter gun control, has argued that allowing owners of recently banned firearms to keep them would make it easier for a different government to simply reverse the ban in future. Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said in mid-May the coming buyback program would be “fair and effective” but she did not provide details. Blair’s office had no immediate comment Wednesday on why it was looking outside the government for someone to design the program. A spokeswoman for Public Safety Canada said the options that emerge from the selected contractor “may be incorporated into a final program. Costs will be available once a provider is selected.”  [full article]

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