Legal challenges between the Saskatchewan and the federal governments on Bill C-21 are still ongoing - and gun owners are caught in the crossfire. 

"At the end of the day, you have to obey the law. Whether you like it or not, the law is out there to protect people and that sort of thing. It's kind of conflicting in some aspects because it goes against law-abiding people and that's who this law mostly affects," expressed Craig Bird, Vice President of the Estevan Wildlife Federation. 

Bird has been a gun enthusiast for a long time. He works with the Estevan Police Service as a constable and has been teaching the Possession and Acquisition Licensing Course for years. While he sees the legislation as pushing the envelope, Bird welcomes the province's efforts to appeal the ban. 

"It's hard. You can make sure that people are safe [and] that they're storing firearms properly so that they don't get into the hands of criminals. On the policing end of things, we're cracking down on criminals and taking illegal firearms off the street. So, they're kind of two different avenues." -Bird on two sides of the gun safety conversation

Bird also points to the efforts the province is doing to curtail gun crime locally, including investing in the Chief Firearms Office with regards to education, investigation and law enforcement. He's heard from other local gun enthusiasts and has tried to ease their minds amidst the changing landscape. 

"The biggest thing that you can do is tell people to hang on with the legislation that, hopefully, the government will change. So, you kind of give them a little bit of hope that way. That's what I hang on to at my end. And then, like I say, giving people a little bit of hope and maybe explaining the laws a little bit better to them because a lot of people don't understand that legal jargon, that's out there with this. [That's] kind of alleviating some of that frustration as well."

He argues that the federal firearms ban doesn't address the root problem. Bird cited instances of gun crimes on the rise in larger cities like Toronto and Ottawa. He recalled an incident in 2022 where a drone was used to carry 11 guns near the Canada-U.S border along the St. Clair River in Ontario. The effort was short-lived when the drone got stuck in a tree during flight. 

"Most of the people that are using the firearms in this province are all law abiding. So, to say that that a small segment of criminals can dictate how everybody else works and spoils their hobby and prohibits them from looking after their livelihood is not right," Bird expressed. 

Bird reiterated the positive uses of legal firearms around the Southeast. He said that guns have been used for predator control for cattle and livestock farmers, hunting game, and shooting competitions. Bird added that the broader Saskatchewan landscape brings gun enthusiasts, tourists, and hunters from all over for hunting opportunities.