IPSC Canada Says ‘Fantastic’ Growth Is Threatened by Handgun Ban

TheGunBlog.ca — IPSC Canada President Sean Hansen said the group’s fast-paced run-and-gun handgun matches have driven “fantastic” growth in memberships that are now threatened by the government’s possible gun bans.

Canadian membership in the International Practical Shooting Confederation has doubled in the past decade to about 4,000 from 2,000, Hansen said in a phone interview with TheGunBlog.ca in September, with an update by e-mail today.

‘People Love Our Game’

“IPSC Canada is doing fantastic,” Hansen said from Halifax, where he owns the gun store Freedom Ventures. “Our biggest challenge is having matches that don’t fill up in half an hour. People love our game. They are excited about it. People are taking our Black Badge certification and playing our game.”

Target shooting is one of Canada’s safest and most-popular sports, and hunting is at the heart of the country’s heritage and culture. More men and women have a federal firearm licence than play golf, hockey, tennis, or who ski.

Read: Gun Licences Rise to Record in June After 21 Quarterly Increases

About 400 people attend IPSC Canada’s annual national match. Interest is so high that the group has already planned the next three.

National Matches

Next year’s nationals will be at Valcartier military base near Quebec City. IPSC specifically chose the base to avoid the obstructions imposed on private gun clubs by the Quebec Chief Fireams Officer.

The 2020 nationals will be at Sharon Gun Club, about 60 km north of Toronto. Dalhousie, New Brunswick, will host the 2021 edition.

Most IPSC competitors are middle-aged men who have “an established career, some free time and some play money,” Hansen said.

More and more women are also participating. A junior out of Ontario placed second in this year’s nationals. One young athlete’s parents have taken him to matches around the world.

Bans for Votes

All of that would end if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proceeds with the firearm seizures he is considering as a tactic to win next year’s election.

Polls show potential voters for Trudeau’s Liberal Party are hostile to gun owners and support their elimination from cities.

Read: About 90% of Liberals Support Gun Ban in Cities, Ekos Chief Says

The prime minister ordered an examination of a “full ban on handguns and assault weapons” that could result in police taking away firearms from hundreds of thousands of plinkers and competitors or their families, including all the members of IPSC Canada.

Read: Police Kill Man in Gun Confiscation in Maryland: Baltimore Sun

‘It Bothers Me’

“It bothers me,” Hansen said. “As a shooter, it’s the possible end of my pastime. That would mean 4,000 sportsmen who compete regularly across this country who would be out of a sport.”

A Trudeau ban could eliminate more than 1 million handguns and 100,000 AR-15 and other rifles that are labeled as “Restricted” or “Prohibited” and are legal to own. All gun owners in Canada and their guns are tightly restricted.


Confiscation, Destruction

Bans could also lead to the destruction of a million “Non-restricted” guns, such as the SKS rifle designed for the Soviet military and now the most-popular semi-automatic, centrefire rifle in Canada. TheGunBlog.ca estimated that a Trudeau confiscation could wipe out more than $2 billion invested in guns and gear.

Read: Handgun, Semi-Auto Ban Could Wipe Out $2 Billion From Gun Owners

All firearms are banned for everyone already under threat of prison unless they have a temporary licence authorized by the federal police. About 2.2 million men and women are approved for the renewable five-year permits.

Only about 293,000 own handguns, the Globe and Mail reported yesterday, citing the federal police. That represents about 1 percent of eligible voters.

Action Drives Growth

Most of the growth in Canada’s firearm industry comes from handgun users, especially “action shooters” in IPSC, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), 3-Gun, and other disciplines that can involve equipment that gets abused.

“These guys are shooting their guns a thousand rounds a month, dropping mags on the ground, wearing them out, wearing out their guns, beating the crap out of their gear,” Hansen said. “In the summertime when I’m training for the nationals, I go out 3 times a week and shoot 500 rounds each time.”

Eric Grauffel, a French multiple world champion who has run training camps at Silverdale Gun Club near Niagara Falls in Ontario, shoots roughly 1,000 rounds a day for two weeks before the world shoot or a major match, Hansen said.

Politicians, Associations

He recommends contacting politicians to inform them about the realities of the firearm community and the law, and joining at least one gun-rights association.

“If you aren’t a member of one of our gun-rights organizations, you should be a member of two of them,” Hansen said.

New prohibitions by a Liberal government would also shut down Hansen’s Freedom Ventures, close down target ranges across the country and eliminate tens of thousands of jobs. Hansen is also president of the Atlantic Marksman’s Association.

“As a businessman, my business is focused primarily on ‘Restricted’ firearms, so I’d have to close shop,” Hansen said. “Our club is closed if they go through with this.”


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