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Canada possibly reversing gun control laws

Prior to my departure to Saskatchewan a few years ago, I bought a Remington 870 12 gauge, to give to my Canadian host and hunting partner. He was appreciative, of course, but more importantly, it saved him from a two-year wait for his government to make background checks as to his character and suitability as a firearms owner.

Canada's long gun registry began with a horrific mass murder back in Dec. 1989, when a 25 year-old psychopath used his semi-automatic hunting rifle to kill 14 people and wound 10 others.

After a relentless media storm, Parliament passed a law that required registration of all long guns. Pistol ownership in Canada is almost non-existent. The measure eventually got about 7 million long guns owned by citizens, registered. The figure is estimated at about 15 percent of the actual number of long guns in the Provinces. The cost of the gun registration was supposed to be $2 million. Costs ran to more than $2 billion.

Along with Canadian registry, the law required visiting hunters, mostly Americans of course, who wanted to bring their hunting rifles and shotguns into Canada on a temporary basis, to use in hunting big game and waterfowl, to also register.

The idea of Canadian gun control was fewer murders, less crime. That didn't materialize at all. Gun control wasn't the will of the Canadian people. Hunters abandoned their sport by the many millions, and crime continued.

But now there is a bill pending in Parliament that would eliminate the failed gun registration scheme. It would not only wipe out the need for registering your hunting guns, but it would destroy the information of the 7 million firearms now registered. The densely populated eastern provinces are balky about eliminating the registry, but this can probably be over ridden.

Repeal of the Canadian gun registry would be of significant global impact. It would shatter the claim by the Canadian government that their law curbs crime. It would have an effect upon the current United Nations pending debate on global gun laws.

Ten million shotguns

About one year ago, the 10 millionth Remington Model 870 came off the assembly line in Ithaca, New York. Introduced in 1950, replacing the very fine Model 31, the Winchester Model 12 was the competition.

The Model 870 pump wasn't a high-grade firearm. Remington's gun designers set upon a plan to create a "family" of firearms which all had similar, if not interchangeable parts. The receiver of the 870 began, and later was identical to other shotguns and rifles. Parts were generally stampings, and there were few machined parts, a manufacturing process that is very expensive.

The American sportsmen welcomed the new 870 shotgun. In 1950, many had been discharged from the U.S. Army and were in need of a gun for hunting ducks, pheasants, and grouse, which were available in good numbers, as they hadn't been hunted much for five years.

For over half a century, the Model 870 has been a worldwide favorite. When it first appeared, price was important. Winchester's great model 12 cost $108, while the 870 was available at $79. The Model 12 didn't last much longer. It was discontinued in 1965, and replaced by a cheaper gun, the 1200. But it did not have the appeal of the 870 and the Remington gun was preferred.

Over the years there have been many additional variations to the original field grade. Trap and skeet guns in 16, 20, and 28 gauges were available. A left-handed model was marketed in 1971. By 1984 the four millionth 870 was sold. Camouflage models, and 3½ inch chambering sold more guns. The model 870 will chamber wet or dirty shells. It has worked in spite of wet dogs, and sacks of decoys being tossed upon them. The late Tom Atkins dug one out at a boat launch, washed it in Tulaby Lake's cold waters and shot it.

Other Remington shotguns were successfully patterned after the 870, and the family of guns was born.

Fans of this shotgun are occasionally worried that Remington will cease production of its 870 if sales begin to lag. My guess is that this will never happen. Why would anyone be dumb enough to drop the best selling shotgun of all time?

Illegal deer feeding

Killing deer over bait is illegal, yet all too common in Minnesota. Our DNR and the Minnesota deer hunters want it curbed. A proposed remedy would be a law introduced in the legislature that would make it illegal to recreationally feed deer from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31. The statewide ban would allow bird feeders for non-hunted birds, within 50 feet of a building and normal agricultural practices. In addition to closing the baiting law loopholes, the ban would also address health concerns by the reduction of artificial concentrations of deer and reduce the numbers of auto-deer collisions. With the support of MDHA, the bill has a pretty good chance of passage.