Oversight of government should be the purview of independent institutions as we have seen most recently with the disgraceful (un)Fair Elections Act.
It is why we have Elections Canada, a parliamentary budget officer, an auditor general etc. Putting politicians in charge of policing themselves is simply like the proverbial fox and chicken coop.
So, it makes sense that the body responsible for classifying firearms would be independent of Parliament.
I was surprised, however, when friends told me the RCMP had recently banned a certain type of rifle. "That can't be right," I said. "Why would the RCMP have responsibility for that?"
On reflection, I guess it makes sense, they are the people who have to deal with them. I was intrigued by the story, which I had not heard. It turns out the gun in question is a Swiss Arms semi-automatic rifle called a Classic Green.
They have been available in Canada for about 12 years and were classified as non-restricted until last month when the RCMP, fearing they could easily be converted to full automatic, changed the classification to prohibited on its firearms reference table (FRT).
The guns came to the attention of the national police when a gun shop owner from Calgary took one in on trade. J.R. Cox notified the RCMP because he said he thought the rifle looked like an assault weapon, which are illegal in Canada.
I looked at some pictures of these things and there is no question they are military style weapons.
I was never a big fan of the long gun registry. I think with proper safety regulations people should be allowed to own hunting rifles and shotguns.
This is very disturbing, particularly because there are apparently something like 10,000 of these things in Canada.
Of all the things we don't want to import from the United States, the insane gun culture that poisons every debate in that country should be top of the list.
The gun lobby lamely tried to claim the Classic Green is used for hunting. Yeah, right. This is a weapon made for one thing and one thing only, killing people.
To borrow a phrase from the gun shop owner who tipped off the cops, "you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."
I've never been a big fan of slippery slope arguments, but the massive influx of this type of guns is not a good sign.