You don’t even have to be a firearms owner to be even remotely interested in the laws regarding firearms ownership and usage in Canada, but it cannot hurt to be counted as one. There are roughly two million (2,000,000) adult citizens of Canada who have a firearm license of some sort. Most are likely the hunters and long distance shooters having a Possession and Acquisition License, aka PAL, for non-restricted firearms. Those who practice action shooting, whom are more tactical firearms enthusiasts and handgun owners, have a PAL for both restricted and non-restricted firearms, affectionately known as an RPAL. There are also PALs which are for firearms designated for one or more of the several prohibited classes that exist. Currently however there are Possession Only versions of the aforementioned licenses as well, and these are short formed to POL holders.
Now some of you may have heard about the introduction of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. The new agencies were very tight lipped it seemed about the proposed legislation tabled by the current government as very little news made it into the mainstream media. Perhaps there was too much bad news for firearms owners as good news in the bill to make it unable to bash the CPC government with? The Minister of Public Safety, Mr. Steven Blaney, made the announcement on October 7th, 2014, in the House Of Commons. It has been given the Bill number of C-42 and has passed first reading.
On October 7th, Minister Blaney announced the CSFL Act
The bill in itself has many sections and covers a fair range of sections and we at TPF will go into the nitty, gritty summations for both good and bad for those who do not want to wade through legalese of a bill. TPF will discuss each of the points and rate them appropriately, but obviously it is the opinion of the author and please feel free to agree and, or, disagree; aka comment. Please recall that this is the first iteration and the bill itself may change during subsequent readings and from committee recommendations. Also note that the intent of the bill cannot be changed over it’s travels through the procedural system, otherwise the bill becomes null and void.
The following are the main points that are contained in the current iteration of Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code and to make a related amendment and a consequential amendment to other Acts; whose short title is the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.
- Create a six-month grace period at the end of the five-year license period to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork delays around license renewals;
- Streamline the licensing system by eliminating the Possession Only License (POL) and converting all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PALs);
- Make classroom participation in firearms safety training mandatory for first-time license applicants;
- Amend the Criminal Code to strengthen the provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offense involving domestic violence;
- End needless paperwork around Authorizations to Transport by making them a condition of a license for certain routine and lawful activities;
- Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers to be subject to limit by regulation;
- Authorize firearms import information sharing when restricted and prohibited firearms are imported into Canada by businesses; and,
- Allow the Government to have the final say on classification decisions, following the receipt of independent expert advice.
Lets start with #1. Currently the instant your license expires, all you are in illegal possession of every single firearm you own. ALL OF THEM. This also means that for those with a prohibited class firearm license will instantly lose that status and not be able to renew them as one of the conditions is to have a continuous ownership status. Expired license means a break in that requirement. By including a 6 month grace period, it gives those forgetful individuals time to renew and not be caught by any sudden changes. This is a good thing. No real downsides to this. 3 of 5 stars
#2 is converting the existing POLs into PALs. Back in the original legislation which introduced the possession only aspect of firearms, only those who already had a firearm were able to get a POL. The idea is that for nearly 20 years, these POL holders have not had any sort of notable record of criminal activity or misuse of firearms. Plus it only makes sense to reduce the number of license types and cutting the license types in half is a good way to reduce bureaucratic exercises. There are nearly six hundred thousand (600,000) POL holders in the system. This is a huge added benefit to the firearms industry as it opens up an additional 40% more consumer market for firearms sales. That is a huge step forward. 5 of 5 stars
Mandatory safety training is the third point and is a contentious one. Removing the ability to challenge the Canadian Firearms Safety Course, aka CFSC, is not making it easier to own a firearm. For urban areas and nearby rural areas the ability to schedule and attend a CFSC is not a difficult task… And for extremely remote locations such as those found in the Territories, instructors are flown into those areas just as they do today. The problem is that you are now forced to take safety training which has never been a means to eliminate irresponsible and accidental misuse of a firearm. The biggest complaint would be that prospective individuals now need to pay more money and more time dedicated to firearms safety training. Where a CFSC challenge was merely $50 and roughly an hour of your time, the course is 8-12 hours and now also has to pay for books and instructor times which elevate the costs to $75 or more. More of an inconvenience than a negative, but still… 3 of 5 stars
Domestic violence is one of those nasty occurrences that many people to not care to mention. Point four introduces the option for a lifetime firearms ban for those who commit domestic violence on spouses, kin, parents and other household residents. On the surface this sounds like a good addition, but recall that these prohibition can occur to any individual charged with an indictable offense but has not been cleared of wrongdoing. An unconditional discharge will still net you a possible firearms/weapons prohibition order! So don’t be one of those idiots who would intentionally cause grief and damage to others, let alone to family and children. The issue in this case is the duration, as a lifetime sentence for incarceration may still allow the individual to leave prison on parole, which is never ending with a life sentence. It is obviously situational however, an example being if a drunken, stupid nineteen year old and his father have a fight; the teenager subsequently receives an assault charge and an unconditional pardon to it, is it reasonable to punish him for life with some form of restriction, be it a firearm or whatnot, forever? Either make it lifetime ban upon a conviction, or a sensible number that works with our current laws. 1 of 5 stars
Combining ATT’s for common purposes instead of having several individual requests on a recurring basis sounds like pretty common sense. With this portion of the bill, your long term ATT will now be good for border crossings, guns smiths, gun stores, and gun shows and all approved ranges in the license holder’s province or territory. They are also must issue instead of shall issue. That’s a pretty big change for the better. However it is tempered with some changes that have negative effects on some firearms owners. Some provinces already have multi-province long term Authorizations to Transport to various ranges, this bill in it’s current form would curtail the ability of those firearms owners to participate in events and competitions in neighboring regions. So far this is good in scope but limits others. The biggest hurdle is the fact that non-handgun prohibited firearms will NOT be issued any authorizations to transport to approved ranges. Despite CFOs not issuing a Special Authority to Possess, aka SAP, for the last decade; which means all prohibited rifles have been safe queens for that duration. Bill C-42 states clearly that prohibited rifles will remain safe queens. Great for restricted rifles and hand-gunners in general, but imposes definite territorial limitations and misses two important issues. For transport to and from a post office, plus how it deals with people who travel across a provincial boundary to shoot at their primary range. 4 of 5 stars
Point six is simple yet confusing in nature. Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers to be subject to limit by regulation. What this means is that the Chief Firearms Officer may only impose any additional requirements on a license/ATT/etc… that are specifically allowed in legislation. This means that the CFO cannot attach a condition to an ATT or license such as requiring an invitation in order to attend an compete in matches hosted by another club. Anything that restricts arbitrarily imposed conditions is a good thing. Again however, many provinces have decent CFO. 4 of 5 stars
The data sharing mentioned in the seventh point is a very interesting one and has zero effect on the average firearms owner. The current problem is that the RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) are not authorize to communicate with other for the purposes of data sharing. When CBSA gets firearms imports it needs to ask the RCMP for clarification and data through convoluted channels and the formatting of the information is less than “easily manipulated” to perform customs work. This section is to create a frame work of communication that is easily accessed by customs to expedite information required to process restricted and prohibited firearms. There has been mention of a new undefined form being utilized, which has not been created, nor determined if it replaces the existing customs form. This proposal is both good and bad as anything that helps get firearms through customs faster is good, but additional paperwork is not fun for businesses. 3 of 5 stars
The final point, number 8, is one that is the least explained and the most feared for some reason. If you read all the changes in the proposed bill, the definition of non-restricted is defined and introduced throughout the bill and also creates the ability of a government to reclassify restricted and prohibited firearms into non-restricted classifications. That is HUGE! This becomes the means with which firearms like the newly prohibited Swiss Arms series of rifles can be classified as non-restricted. This is the first step towards reclassifying firearms which should be non-restricted by the current definition of firearms as set out in law. This is a huge plus. 5 of 5 stars
Total rating out of 40 possible points? 28 out of 40. It is a passing grade but only a C overall regarding the proposed changes contained in the Bill.
“Is the CSFL Act a good bill in it’s own? That is for you to decide!
There are still issues with the CSFL act in that it does not address the multitude of other issues that are significantly deeper and more fundamentally wrong with the firearms act and it’s associated regulations. These are the more commonly stated naysayer lines that are floating around the online Canadian firearm forums CGN and GoC being the two largest.
- It is still a criminal offense to possess a firearm, in that firearms are illegal to possess UNLESS you have a POL or PAL of the appropriate class.
- ATTs should be worded to cover any and all legal purposes.
- Licenses should be lifetime in duration.
- Classifications should not exist!
- CFOs should be abolished entirely or made to assist shooters/businesses
- It is small little tweaks instead of wholesale change
Unfortunately as the old quote states,
“It’s easier to take than to give.”
Expecting politics to not be about compromise is pretty foolhardy. If there was no such thing as compromise, C-68 would have ended all civilian gun ownership. An additional tidbit of information is as follows.
As part of Mr. Peter VanLoan’s, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, statement recently:
“Starting on Wednesday, October 22, the House will consider Bill C-42, the common sense firearms licensing act at second reading. This bill would cut red tape for law-abiding firearms owners and provide safe and simple firearms policies. I would note that this legislation has already been endorsed by a number of key groups, such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, la Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, and the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, among others.”
That is extremely fast paced for a Bill in the House of Commons. Remember that this write-up is about the legislation as written itself, not as a grand overall status of the Firearms Act and the infamous Bill C-68/etc…
As this is a political review of a newly introduced bill, it is hard to give definite evaluations as the bill’s content may indeed change. We can hope that some wording and content will be improved in the future…So, instead of the usual TPF options, we ask if you the reader believe the contents of the bill are beneficial, superficial, or detrimental to firearms owners in the context of the bill.
October 15, 2014 | Categories: Firearms, General Shooting, Politics | Tags: ATT, Authorization to Transport, Bill C-42, C-42, c-68, canadian, CFO, Common Sense, CPC, CSFL, CSFL Act, CSSA, firearms, GOC, OIC, PAL, POL, Shooting, TPF, TPF-Online | Leave a comment
January 15-18, 2013. These were the days that the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. With this being the 35th anniversary of the event, one would have expected the event to be a little more upbeat and celebratory in nature. However with the looming issues of multiple executive orders by President Obama and the idiotic “gun control” laws being tabled by the State of New York, the mood was slightly more somber at the largest trade show of its kind in the world.
That was not to say that the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers whom attended as exhibitors and consumers were not busy hammering our deals and displaying new products for 2013… If anything the business side of the industry has been at its highest levels in years with order delivery dates being a year for some instead of a couple of months due to commercial demand. In the few days following the Sandy Hill tragedy, consumer fears resulted in unheard of demand for products, such as Brownell’s selling of 36 months of typical inventory of P-Mags in under 72 hours. Three years of standard sales compressed into under 3 days. Firearms are in such high demand that orders prior to the SHOT Show had already exceeded 800,000 units above currently produced items. That was a SINGLE firearms manufacturer who has orders for over three-quarters of a million firearms and the trade show had not even started yet. From a business perspective 2012 and 2013 are banner years for the industry due to worry about bans and confiscations by the current government administration.
Enough depressing thoughts however. With over 62,000 attendees, plus exhibitors, the 2013 SHOT Show had a record level of attendance. Over 2,000 media representatives scoured the 5.85 hectares (630,000 square feet) of booth space and got the news on what products are new, and what products are hot from over 1,600 exhibiting companies. With over 1,600 companies and the officially open time of the show being a total of 34.5 hours; it equates to only 77 seconds of visiting time per booth. Now that does not seem that bad, except it does not include the 28km (17.4 miles) of aisles of walking between exhibitor booths. So in reality attendees who want to travel the entire show spend roughly 5.5 hours walking the show which drops that down to roughly a minute per booth. Go search on YouTube or google and you will see that most stops are several minutes long. So IF you are going to SHOT Shows in the future, please remember a couple of things.
- Plan out who you need to see versus want to see
- Bring a very comfortable pair of shoes (or two)
- For those who are looking to sign purchase agreements – Bring a cheque-book and a pen
- For Media who have to lug around their equipment? One word – Cardio
- Have fun
Now amidst the hustle and bustle of the SHOT Show there are attendees from all over the world. In fact over 100 countries have people at SHOT Show in various capacities, and Canada is no exception. Similarly to the past half-dozen or more years, the author was there representing the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) and as well, TPF in a more recent capacity. One of the evening events that became an informal tradition was a CSSA/Canadian Meet and Greet during the show. While last years was not held due to a lack of foresight, this year was special. With the help of a couple Canadian supporters, the event was a fully fledged social gathering.
Special thanks to the following organizations and companies:
- The Canadian Shooting Sports Association: For encouraging TPF to exist and continue this fine tradition of holding a SHOT Show gathering for Canadians who attend.
- O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group: These three companies made it possible to bring in the food and drink to keep the attendees from having parched throats and empty bellies. It was their support that made the event such a great success.
With the President of the CSSA and the executive director of CILA present as well as a multitude of individuals the evening lasted from 7:00pm until just before midnight, the gathering was well attended and a good time was had by all. Discussions ranged from the current state of Canadian and US affairs regarding firearms to the top Canadian firearms that people should own. Newly found Calibre Magazine was there with several copies of their first publication, which was well received by all attendees.
Nearly twenty people partook of the gathering and while slightly more manoeuvering room would have been appreciated, it was a very enjoyable time and deemed a success, especially due to the last-minute preparations. As the first such event hosted by the CSSA at SHOT Show that was sponsored by members of the Canadian shooting industry, talks are already in the works for expanding and improving the venue for the next year’s SHOT Show. On behalf of the CSSA and it’s members, TPF-Online would like to thank O’Dell Engineering, Trigger Wholesale, and the Korth Group for their contributions, a damned good time, and we look forwards to next year. Please be sure to visit these wonderful companies and find out who their dealers are in your area and have a look!
Also many thanks to Mr. Ly @ Transgressive Media for his images of the event.
January 24, 2013 | Categories: CSSA, General Shooting, Politics, Ranting & Raving | Tags: Calibre, Calibre Magazine, canadian, CGN, CSSA, firearms, gathering, GOC, korth, korth group, O'Dell, party, shin dig, Shot Show, Tony Bernardo, TPF, TPF-Online, transgressivemedia.ca, Trigger, trigger wholesale | Leave a comment