Dear Editor:

The Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club has for some time been genuinely concerned with the proposal to changes surrounding firearms by the Federal Government as they directly affect hunters and recreational shooters. Members have been actively making their concerns known through direct contact with our MP and other government representatives in Ottawa. However, the latest B.C. proposed changes to the B.C. Firearms Act is a full attack on hunters and recreational shooters.

While our members can appreciate the need to remove guns from the hands of those who wish to harm others, we see no need to take hunting firearms out of the hands of those who provide food for their family or enjoy a day out while improving their skill of using such. This is nothing more than changes with political overtones.

Since entering the haloed halls of Victoria to govern the province, the current government has all too often seen to manage our wildlife by politics rather than science based facts. Now they have introduced proposed changes to the B.C. Firearms Act, for instance, that will remove the ability of waterfowl hunters to hunt from duck punts and add more regulatory hurdles for disabled hunters. Furthermore, firearms safety and handling courses are being removed from some facilities that have been available in the past. Of course, if you live in a large city one can say there are lots of places to hold such but living in a small community such as ours, there is not the selection.

Lastly, this government is proposing greater restrictions on shooting ranges, such as our club provides for public use. The shooting range comes with a cost to maintain and follows current federal operating regulations and is visited by a Firearms Officer routinely. To take on more cost through the B.C. intended changes, could end up making these cost out of the reach of the club to provide this public facility.

We do not disagree with safety around firearms and the ones that have no place out and about in the general public. The Canada Safety Council and International Hunter Education Association records show B.C. hunters have one of the highest safety records on the continent, thus speaking to our training and constant awareness in the use of our firearms. However, that doesn’t win votes in downtown Vancouver so politics over science based facts prevails. This government has placed a target on hunters’ backs for political gain rather than using science based facts just as they are also doing when it comes to wildlife/fish management. One has only to look at the collapse of the Kootenay Lake Fishery as just one example of many.

Rod & Gun Club Executive

Richard Hoar – President