With the rumours coming from Parliament Hill of a upcoming prohibition of the AR-15 rifle Canadians are doing something that has been rare; buying everything.
Typically when a gun ban is threatened Canadians attempt to get out of the firearm that is under threat, including any related accessories. You will see owners attempting to sell their firearms, acting like it's for some other reason than upcoming prohibition. Retailers will get attempted returns of recently purchased firearms, as if a gun ban is somehow covered under warranty. Past history is that most Canadians run from the firearm in question and attempt to get as much of their investment back as possible. Sure there have been small raises in sales when prohibition is threatened, but those are a brave few Canadians that are willing to risk the investment to challenge the classification in court.
Not this time however. This time the AR-15 is under threat and everyone with a restricted designation on their firearms license is buying any rifle they can afford. If you can find a lower receiver for under $500, it doesn't last long. In case you don't know the lower receiver is the registered component of the rifle, and is all you need to buy in order to be considered an owner of an AR-15. But good luck finding one in this current market, everything on retailers shelves is gone, or when announced doesn't last more than a few hours.
This is in anticipation of a prohibition by Order In Council (OIC). The way the Canadian Government has operated in the past is to offer a prohibited designation on owners licenses rather than spend millions of dollars in a buy back, otherwise known as grandfathering. Knowing this people with restricted firearms licenses are buying the AR-15, which is currently restricted, to make sure that they get the prohibited designation that will allow them to own and purchase AR-15's into the future. If the rifle does become prohibited, and you didn't own one before prohibition, then you will not be able to buy one after prohibition without the proper license.
If you can afford to gamble some money then perhaps you should consider buying any AR-15 that you can afford. Just know that this is a gamble, the Government could very well prohibit them and confiscate without grandfathering or reimbursing.
If you are willing to buy an AR, then first look at the retailers for a few reasons. They can register the rifle to you faster than private sales. The speed of the transfer of registration is important because if the rumours are true then the prohibition is expected in the first week of June, which gives you 5 to 10 business days to get an AR in your name. If retailers are left with dead stock it can very well crush smaller shops, forcing them to close their doors. Less retailers is a bad thing in Canada. It's also worth saying that buying new makes sure you're not paying mark-up for aftermarket accessories that someone else thought were cool, but you're likely not going to need or like.
If the retailers shelves are totally empty, which is quickly becoming the case, then buying from an individual looking to sell is your other path. You have to be careful here if buying online, there are plenty of scammers looking to take advantage of buyers. The strength here is that genuine sellers that are looking to get out of the AR will typically do so at a loss, saving you a good percentage off of retail. The vast majority of AR's in Canada being range toys, a used rifle should be in pretty good condition, and poor condition should be easier to spot. Person to person sales are difficult waters for a first time buyer to navigate, so either do your research on everything listed about the rifle, or buy from a retailer if there's anything left that you can afford.
Normally AR-15 can sit on a retailers shelves and gather a thick layer of dust prior to selling. Combine this fact that buying in the face of a threatened prohibition is not the typical average Canadian buying pattern and this is a very unique market trend. This is a good thing, as there is strength in numbers, the more owners there are the harder it is to confiscate without backlash.
The AR-15 is selling in record numbers in Canada. Good for you Canadians, good for you.