Nunavut HTOs should take part in firearms safety blitz, MLA says
“Members of the public should be aware that the purpose of this campaign is to provide information”
Hunters and trappers organizations should become more involved in the RCMP’s new door-to-door firearm safety campaign, Akulliq MLA John Ningark said Oct. 23 during question period in the Nunavut legislature.
Ningark said he’s concerned about the door-to-door gun safety campaign, but Nunavut residents need to understand that it’s not a search of their household.
“Members of the public should be aware that the purpose of this campaign is to provide information to the public — not to allow a random search at private homes,” he said.
As a hunter himself, Ningark said he understands the importance of firearms safety, but “it’s important that households in Nunavut have an understanding of their legal rights.”
That’s crucial for this campaign to be a success, he added.
Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services previously expressed similar concerns about the project.
Many people are afraid that police will enter their house, Ningark said. “Uniforms can be very intimidating at times,” so people should know when to expect a knock on the door from the RCMP, he said.
The campaign, a partnership between the RCMP and the Government of Nunavut, comes after many firearm-related incidents in Nunavut over the past two years.
In 2011, the RCMP recorded 118 firearm-related complaints.
Now the plan is to visit all 25 Nunavut communities and every household over the next 12 months to hand out trigger locks.
If the HTOs took part in the firearm safety campaign, people would better informed, said Ningark, who asked justice minister Dan Shewchuk if HTO involvement could be a possibility in the future.
HTO’s will be informed when the campaign is taking place in different communities, Shewchuk said.
The justice and environment departments, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the RCMP are collaborating on the safety campaign, Shewchuk said.
The first door-to-door visits in Clyde River were “very well accepted,” he said. “We are very sensitive and aware of the fact that people may seem to be intimidated they [should] have no fear, they do not have to relay information they do not want to tell the RCMP or the conservation officer.”
The campaign is purely a safety and voluntary program, Shewchuk said.