A taxpayer rights group is demanding that the Liberal government immediately end its gun buyback program after a Parliamentary Budget Office estimate pegged the program’s cost at  $756 million, nearly four times what the Liberals originally claimed.

“Using the number of estimated firearms and data from the Government, the estimated cost ranges from $47 million to $225 million. With the industry’s estimate and data, that range becomes $158 million to $756 million, owing largely to the variance in estimated non-registered firearms in Canada,” the PBO writes.

Tuesday’s PBO report, “Cost Estimate of the Firearm Buy-Back Program,” was written in reponse to an inquiry from Conservative MP Glen Motz. 

Following the report’s publication, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) put out a press release slamming the program’s ballooning costs. 

“Today we learned the gun buyback could cost hundreds of millions more than Canadians have been told and the government still doesn’t know the full costs,” said CTF Federal Director Franco Terrazzano. 

“This is a huge sum of money and the people on the front line say the buyback won’t make Canadians safer.”

As noted by the CTF, the PBO’s report did not take into account administrative and other costs associated with running the program, so the final cost will likely be larger. 

Similarly, Conservative public safety critic Shannon Stubbs also blasted the federal program for targeting law-abiding gun owners and sending taxpayers such a steep bill.

“Like the first Liberal government gun registry, the firearms buyback program is yet another billion-dollar boondoggle that does nothing to truly address increasing violent crime, gun smuggling, and gang violence in our communities,” Stubbs said in a statement.

“The simple fact is that every dollar spent taking a firearm away from a law-abiding firearm owner is a dollar not going to fight the true issue of firearm crime in Canada – illegally smuggled guns.”

The Liberals’ now-repealed long gun registry, introduced in the 1990s, was supposed to cost $10 million per year, but ultimately ran up costs of close to one billion dollars over ten years, before Stephen Harper’s government scrapped it.

Upon announcing that it would ban 1,500 kinds of rifles and firearms in May 2020, the Liberal government said its buyback program cost would only reach $200 million.

These concerns were echoed by True North’s Andrew Lawton, a licensed gun owner and producer of the upcoming documentary Assaulted: Justin Trudeau’s War on Gun Owners.

“The government’s initial figure was a joke,” he said. “Anyone familiar with the Liberals’ track record on firearms policy knew it. Yet that hasn’t stopped this government from politicking on the backs of lawful Canadian gun owners, no matter the cost.”

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