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Attendees at area gun show raise concerns over possible ban of legal firearms

‘The political stuff going on right now is huge. We’re watching it daily. It is at a point now where it could take away a lot of the guns that we use and take away some of those rights we have' Kahla Alamenciak

The Rock Cut Shooting Club held its inaugural gun show Sunday, drawing hundreds of people from across the province to the Powassan Arena.

Kahla Alamenciak President of Rock Cut Shooting Club said the show gave the club some good exposure.

“We have 350 plus members at the club. There are different ranges that offer different types of rifle, pistol, shotgun, and action shooting. You can come to the range with your family, and just enjoy your day there.”

The club president was pleased with the turnout.

“It promotes us as a club. A lot of our vendors and retailers are our club members, so we’re giving back to them by hosting this, and they’re giving back to us by promoting it,” said Almenciak.

“They have everything here from guns and ammo to archery to even some farming vendors. It is a chance for vendors to showcase their product and support local.”

Jim Swackakmer didn’t find everything he was looking for, but he did manage to add to his gun collection.  

“I’m a trapper and I hunt for food. It is not for sport, it is for survival,” said Swackakmer.

With him was his 12-year-old son to whom he is instilling the importance of gun safety.

“Every gun is loaded I tell him. Don’t point guns at anybody. He is going to know a lot more than he does now because he is going to have to get his course done.”

Austin House wasn’t looking for anything in particular but still managed to find something worth buying.

“I haven’t been to a gun show in quite a while, so I wanted to treat myself and mostly just wander around and talk to the vendors, and other people in the shooting sports,” said House.

“I bought a tee shirt so that way I can say I’ve been there, done that, got the tee shirt. And then I found this really, really cool antique Russian single shot .22 that just kind of looked neat and the price was right, so I grabbed it.”    

It didn’t take long before the subject of Bill C-71, the Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, came up in conversation.

Earlier this month during question period, Independent MP Tony Clement said he has it on “good authority” that the government has a “secret plan to ban legal firearms.”

Clement said the plan is to be “executed by cabinet directive with no debate in parliament.”

He even went so far as to suggest the Prime Minister plans to announce the gun ban in early June at the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver.

Clement asked if the Prime Minister could “confirm or deny this zero-accountability secret plan.”

Without responding directly to the question, the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, Bill Blair, gave assurances that the Liberal government remains “absolutely committed to taking all the measures that are effective in keeping Canadians safe.”

He went on to say, “there is no greater responsibility for any order of government than the safety of their citizens and the protection of their kids, and we are prepared to consider whatever measures will be effective in doing so.”  

Subsequent reports indicate no announcement relating to a gun ban will be made at the June conference, but the president of the Rock Cut Shooting Club says gun owners are keeping a close eye on things, watching for any new developments.

‘The political stuff going on right now is huge. We’re watching it daily. It is at a point now where it could take away a lot of the guns that we use and take away some of those rights we have,” said Alamenciak.

“The big intent is obviously to take guns off the streets, but when it comes down to it, they’re trying to take it from legal gun owners right now versus criminal gun owners. We go through strenuous background checks. We’re not the ones that are hindering this right now, it is the illegal ones that are. We’re just trying to keep our rights and do the same thing we’ve been doing legally since day one.”

Alamenciak says the club is getting plenty of support.

“We partner a lot with NFA (National Firearms Association) and CCFR (Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights). They’re huge and they support us and our rights, and they’re at parliament hill lobbying for us, supporting us and we thank them for that.”

As a competitor, Austin House worries what will happen to the shooting sports.

“I shoot competitively in IDPA, International Defensive Pistol Association. There’s a provincial championship coming up in June in Peterborough. Right now, I’m extremely worried about what’s going to happen with these rumours of a handgun ban and if this event is going to take place or not,” said House.

“If this does happen the first week of June, then the provincial championships obviously aren’t going to happen because suddenly law-abiding shooters who are passionate about their sport, who have invested a lot of time and money and practice, are now going to be essentially criminals unless they turn over their firearms and refuse to use them.”