Gun law a paper work nightmare for Nunavimmiut
KUUJJUAQ — Nunavik officials are trying to prepare the region’s population for the inevitable mounds of paperwork and frustration that go hand-in-hand with new federal gun control rules and regulations.
The Kativik Regional Government has been offering gun safety courses in communities, while the Makivik Corporations’s income tax workers, community residents trained to help others fill out their income tax forms, have been trained to fill out the required forms. In
“We’re trying to help people out with the system,” said Sandy Gordon, head of the KRG’s renewable resource department. “That’s not to say everyone agrees with it.”
In fact, some people in Nunavik are very wary of the law’s intent.
One man in Ivujivik believes the government eventually plans to confiscate all firearms.
“They don’t want to opposition to be armed,” he said. “That’s the real reason for gun regulation.”
Others, including Paulusi Novalinga, head of Nunavik’s hunting, fishing and trapping association, says the new law will cause hardship for hunters.
Novalinga said hunters who were once in trouble with the law, but now keep out of trouble, face hunger when authorities decide they can’t legally possess a firearm because of their criminal records.
“By being good neighbours when we have friends and family in this situation, some of us are forced to break the rules by lending them our firearms,” said Novalinga. “The roles are too strict for our way of life.”
Some hunters with criminal records have already seen their applications refused or haven’t received any answer yet, causing many angry calls to Gordon.
“They think we made the law, and we can stop it,” Gordon said.
Gordon is the only trained instructor in Nunavik who can deliver safety courses in Inuttitut, and he’s already been through Nunavik’s communities twice already to offer the course.
Many Nunavimmiut have already taken the course that leads to licensing, but there will be a new crop of 18-year-olds wanting the course every year, and Gordon wonders how the region will keep up with this demand.
“It’s a never-ending process,” Gordon said.
Several hundred applications also have been filled in and sent on for approval. These applications for a license require a photo, a copy of course results and demands answers to a host of personal questions.
“Do you know if you have been reported to the police or social services for violence, threatened or attempted violence or other conflict in our home or else where?” asks the form.
It also obliges applicants to submit the signatures of present and former spouses, approving their application to use firearms.
Gordon, a justice of the peace in Kuujjuaq, is sensitive to the fact that guns can play a role in domestic violence or suicide, but he’s not convinced that denying someone a firearm solves the problem.
“If you have the will, you will find the weapon,” he said.