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Bringing common sense back to Canada’s firearms regulations

By: Blake Richards

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 11:28 am

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Since the 1990s, law-abiding Canadian firearms owners have been forced to contend with inefficient and arbitrary gun laws seemingly designed to discourage firearms ownership for even the most experienced and responsible hunters, collectors and target shooters. This system creates criminals of those who miss a paperwork-filing deadline, allows bureaucrats to instantly prohibit ownership of entire lines of firearms without notifications, and effectively restricts safe and lawful activities like gun shows through unnecessary red tape.

Responsible gun owners are tired of bending over backwards to meet these often-redundant regulations and guessing what rules will be in place the next time they seek to renew their license. But mostly, they’re tired of being treated like some sort of threat to society.

Since forming a majority in 2011, our government has eliminated the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry. Earlier this year, when a dispute arose about the arbitrary reclassification of certain rifles, our government stepped in to ensure that owners can continue to possess their property without threat of criminal charges.

Now it’s time to address the systemic problems. On July 23, our government announced new legislation: The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.

First, this act proposes to merge the Possession Only License (POL) and Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) under a straightforward licensing regime. The Act goes on to restrict the ability of the Chief Firearms Officer to make arbitrary decisions, and ends needless paperwork by making Authorizations to Transport a condition of a license. Furthermore, the Act creates a grace period at the end of the five-year license to ensure law-abiding firearms owners aren’t criminalized for paperwork errors.

The Act also reinforced Canada’s reputation as one of the world’s safest nations by requiring mandatory safety courses for first-time gun owners, and strengthening prohibitions for those who are convicted of domestic violence offences.

As a Member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, I know that responsible, law-abiding gun owners are not inherently dangerous people. Canadian law should not treat them as such, and the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act is a giant leap towards addressing this issue.


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