Jacob Blais was in the process of purchasing an AR-15 when the weapon was banned May 1 by the federal government. He has to settle for a picture of what might have been. Photo Andrea DeMeer

Jacob Blais was in the process of purchasing an AR-15 when the weapon was banned May 1 by the federal government. He has to settle for a picture of what might have been. Photo Andrea DeMeer

Princeton man foiled by federal gun ban

‘No one needs a Lamborghini either, but people still want them’

Jacob Blais was in the process of purchasing an AR-15, when the gun was banned last week by the federal government.

The Princeton gun enthusiast and target shooter had long coveted the weapon, and he was not reluctant to share his disappointment.

“This makes absolutely no sense,” he said in an interview with The Spotlight. “It’s not going to make anyone safer and it’s not going to reduce crime.”

On May 1, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban of 1,500 types of assault-style rifles, including the kind used in the 1989 Montreal mass shooting.

Related: Feds ban more than 1,500 assault-style rifles in Canada

Blais said some of the guns banned are no different, and perhaps even less efficient, that other semi-automatic rifles that are still legal.

“It’s just that these guns look scary.”

Ron Young, owner of Princeton Outdoor Supply, said his business will not be impacted by the ban, as the store does not sell restricted weapons.

“It’s not like you really need one of these to hunt a deer,” Young said.

However, Young is personally licensed to own or to sell the guns — as he was attempting to do with Blais — and now his one AR-15 rifle will collect dust.

“Basically it’s an $800 paperweight.”

It can’t even be taken outside.

Young said he knows dealers and shooters who have tens of thousands of dollars invested in weapons that are now useless.

The government has promised to introduce a buy-back program for the banned weapons to compensate owners, and is consider a grandfathering program, however, those details have yet to be announced. There is a two-year amnesty, giving owners time to dispose properly of their guns.

Young expressed concern with the way the ban was rolled out, through an order of council and during the COVID-19 crisis.

Blais acknowledged no one “needs” an assault style rifle.

“No one needs a Lamborghini either, but people still want them,” said Blais, who planned to use the rifle for target shooting.

Related: Police warn gun owners: Do not bring us your weapons

Princeton RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes declined to give an opinion on the ban, but stressed gun owners who are affected should take great care. “Don’t take it out to the range for one last hurrah,” he said.

Also, anyone with a banned weapon who wants to surrender it to police should call the detachment and speak with an officer. “I can’t stress this enough. Do not show up at the detachment with a AR-15 (or any other gun),” said Hughes.

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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