When asked about new firearms legislation at an event in Saskatoon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said there are too many restrictions on gun ownership, which he added is important for the livelihoods of rural people, recreation and personal safety.

“My wife’s from a rural area and obviously gun ownership wasn’t just for the farm, but was for a certain level of security when you’re a ways away from immediate police assistance,” he said during a question-and-answer session with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities.

“(Guns are) something people use for recreation and the vast majority do so safely,” he added.

The comment was in response to a question about the government’s Bill C-42, known as the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. The act would curtail “the discretionary authority of chief firearms officers,” according to the Library of Parliament.

“What we are trying to do with that legislation are some things that will both increase safety around the acquisition and use of firearms but also to deal with some of the bureaucracy and excessive red tape,” he said.

“In some provinces, those firearms officers have exercised their authority in extremely arbitrary ways.”

Harper also alluded to some of the government’s crime policies.

“We’ve brought in tough penalties for the criminal misuse of firearms,” he said. “And I’m always amazed at our opponents who demand that we bring in … restrictions on law-abiding owners, but actually oppose us bringing in any penalties for people who actually commit crime using guns.”

Harper told an audience of fishers and hunters in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., last October that he was concerned his own federal bureaucracy was “effectively trying to put the long gun registry back in through the back door."