Harper government reversed RCMP’s ban on two rifle brands on eve of election | National Post
Just before the election was called last weekend, the Harper government reversed the RCMP’s ban on certain Czech- and Swiss-made rifles — the first time the government had exercised new powers allowing it to override the police force’s gun-classification decisions.
The Mounties did not respond to a request for comment Thursday, but over the last several days Canadian gun owners have rejoiced on social media after Steven Blaney, the public safety minister, announced that CZ-858 rifles and the Swiss Arms family of rifles were no longer prohibited.
“About damn time, Swiss Arms out in the bush for the weekend!!!” the operators of the Gun Owners of Canada web forum tweeted.
On the Canadian Gun Nutz web forum, owners of the affected Czech and Swiss rifles were encouraged to “dust off” their “newly freed” rifles and post pictures of them. Many did and also posted videos from the gun range.
Bernardo dismissed the suggestion that Blaney’s announcement was timed to coincide with the start of election campaigning.
But political observers say the Conservatives have likely identified gun owners as forming part of their traditional support base and are doing what they can to keep them happy.
“There’s always a political calculation, especially ahead of an election. Of course it’s going to be political,” said David Moscrop, a UBC PhD candidate in political science at UBC. “This is classic dog-whistle politics — it resonates with certain groups of voters.” With the election being as close as it is, the Conservatives are likely trying to send a message that they recognize gun owners “can make your own decisions (over) these interventionists,” Moscrop said. “The margin is so close — if you can swing an extra 1 to 2 per cent to the polls, it can win you the race.”
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