Annual Chetwynd Gun Show Bangin’
Liz Brown, Chetwynd Echo Reporter
CHETWYND – Hobbyists from across the Peace Region gathered last Sunday for Chetwynd’s twelfth annual gun show at the Rod and Gun Club. It was a quiet show, with only a few buyers testing their firearms at the range.
Co-organizers Carl Rose and Justin Harmacek said the camaraderie among collectors is the main event.
“It’s an old time gun show. More stories are told than guns sold,” said Rose, who is also the owner of Lonestar Sports.
Chetwynd’s show is one of the smaller venues and one of the last of the season. About a dozen venders attended and many visit the same eight to ten shows each year.
“Everything is imported,” said Rose. “When it comes to ammunition they made the rules harder and harder with gunpowder and stuff and that’s just the way it is.”
The vendors exhibited hand-stamped leather holsters, paintball guns, war memorabilia and an array of rifles.
Hugh McNair brought a portion of his gun collection from Dawson Creek, boasting more than 100 rifles at home. McNair ensures customers that all his guns, even his antiques from the 1800s, will fire. “I’m just a hobby collector,” said McNair.
Brian Lank travelled from Wembley, AB with a slew of antiques including two gun powder measures. The powder is fed through a funnel and a hand-turned crank spits out the correct amount of powder ready for loading. Lank attends about eight shows each year.
Bob Collins, also from Wembley, has spent 50 years making re-loaders. Self-taught in his trade, he says production increased after his back injury two years ago. “It kept my hands busy while I spent six months on my back,” he said.
Nick Ostashek arrived with his handiwork of gun holsters, belts and wallets stating it only takes four hours to stamp one holster, but that’s when his wife leaves the house. Pounding marble isn’t the most inviting sound.
The Firearm’s Act has endured several changes over the years. While Rose says the Liberal’s changes under Jean Cretien’s leadership was unpopular in 1995, he believes the Conservative’s induction of Bill C-19 in April 5, 2012 has improved the licensing process.
The Canadian Firearms Registry, part of the Firearms Act introduced by the Liberals mandated that all restricted and prohibited firearms be registered. The estimated cost was $2-million, but the actual cost was $66.4-million between 2010–2011, a financial fiasco.
On April 6, 2012 Bill C-19 changed everything for the better says Rose. Along with no longer being required to register non-restricted firearms, the destruction of previous records was mandated – except for Quebec who requested keeping records.
Now the regulations make sense and seem to be effective, he said.
However, since April, firearm owners are waiting for the changes to be implemented. Bruce Cheadle reported for the Canadian Press on Monday Oct. 22 that Canadians are receiving a notice by mail to renew licenses, barring any knowledge of April’s changes.
“Lloyd, a retiree in Uxbridge, Ont., said he was shocked to find a license renewal form in his mail this summer after celebrating the official April 6 end of the federal registry. He’s written to a Conservative MP and a cabinet minister seeking an explanation, and so far is without a response,” wrote Cheadle.
Sgt. Greg Cox, RCMP spokesman said in an email “everyone who possesses or acquires a firearm must still be licensed to do so, whether the firearm falls into the non-restricted, restricted or prohibited class.”
While firearm owners are experiencing a lack of information from the government, Sgt. Cox encourages inquirers to visit the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program website as its information is up-to-date.
The Rod and Gun Club’s next big event is Father’s Day bringing out more than 100 enthusiasts to the firing range.
“It could be the biggest one-day firing event in Western Canada,” said Rose. The Rod and Gun Club is open 365 days a year.