09/07/2012 03:17 EDT | Updated 11/07/2012 05:12 EST

Gun Show Regulations In Canada: Conservatives Repeal Rules Aimed At Sponsors

OTTAWA - Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has put a bullet in long-deferred regulations that would have tightened sponsorship rules for gun shows.

Toews says the Conservative government will repeal the 1998 regulations, which were set to come into force this November after being deferred on 10 separate occasions by Liberal and Conservative ministers.

The gun-show rules were designed to ensure people running a gun show got approval in advance from their province's chief firearms officer and also notified local police.

The regulations would have made sponsors of gun shows responsible for the safety of the exhibition, including ensuring vendors properly displayed and stored their weapons.

Toews said in a release that the repeal of the regulations shows the Conservative government is "focusing on protecting families and communities and not pushing administrative burdens on law-abiding gun owners."

The government says existing gun storage and safety laws make the gun-show regulations redundant.

The Conservatives last deferred the regulations in November 2010 as they were about to come into force.

"While the RCMP would support implementing the regulations, from a risk management perspective, Canadian gun shows are not considered a significant public safety concern," the government said at the time.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests that Canadian gun show sponsors and exhibitors generally comply with the safety requirements of the Gun Show Regulations."

Five weeks after that Nov. 26, 2010, statement, two men were charged with selling prohibited spring-loaded knives and improperly registered guns at the Brandon Gun and Hobby Show on Dec. 12, 2010.

However such incidents are rare.

According to a backgrounder released Friday by Public Safety, "law enforcement in Canada has recorded only two incidents where the activities at such events could have endangered public safety due to unsecure display practices." The release does not cite the incidents or provide a time frame over which they occurred.

There are about 300 gun shows a year in Canada, according to Public Safety Canada.

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