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A flood of affidavits from gun experts and sport shooters has risen to the forefront in the Federal Court battle over the Liberal gun ban, after the presiding judge in a 16-month legal battle laid out deadlines to a possible finish line next spring.
Following a case conference between Associate Chief Justice Jocelyn Gagné and lawyers and counsel for both sides on Sept. 22, the pace has sped up.
In a formal directive, Gagné ordered the gun ban challengers had until Oct. 1 to enter expert affidavits for support.
The 27 challengers of the firearm ban expect the evidence will back their cases against the government in an effort to get the court to strike down the ban.
“The Applicants shall serve and file supporting Affidavits, if any, including expert Affidavits and documentary exhibits no later than Oct.1, 2021,” Gagne’s stern directive says.
Counsel for the Justice Department were given until Dec. 1 to respond to the affidavits from the firearm community and owners.
Several of the experts for gun owners and businesses had filed affidavits at an earlier stage, according to a group set up to support the challengers.
Among the experts is a retired army captain and competitive shooter in Southern Ontario, who explained in his affidavit that AR rifles, at the centre of the controversy and originally designed in the 1950s for military use, have semi-automatic versions used only for target shooting, and also hunting until they were classified restricted.
A Calgary woman who came to be a sport shooter and instructor described the AR rifles as an ideal rifle to train and compete with, and described the AR 15 as one of the “easiest’ rifles for women to shoot in a sport context. “The stock is typically easy to fit to a woman’s often smaller frame,” the affidavit said.
Cross-examination on all affidavits, and response from government counsel, will have to be completed no later than Jan. 21, 2022, Gagne’s directive says.
Affidavits in response to Intervener Motions will have to be served and filed no later than April 8, 2022, the directive stipulates. By April 11, the court will hear a motion from the challengers to stay a government amnesty scheduled to end in April 2022.
The latest filings and response to filings in the case appear to go until the end of May.
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