October 7, 2014 – Ottawa – Today, the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. This bill meets the Government’s objective to cut red tape for law-abiding firearms owners and provide safe and simple firearms policies.
Changes to the Criminal Code and the classification regime would enable the Government to take steps to ensure the rights of lawful firearms owners are respected.
The amendments to the Firearms Act and Criminal Code would:
- Create a six-month grace period at the end of the five-year licence period to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork delays around license renewals;
- Streamline the licensing system by eliminating the Possession Only Licence (POL) and converting all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licences (PALs);
- Make classroom participation in firearms safety training mandatory for first-time licence applicants;
- Amend the Criminal Code to strengthen the provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offence involving domestic violence;
- End needless paperwork around Authorizations to Transport by making them a condition of a licence 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.
“Today, our Government followed through on its commitment to introduce legislation that enshrines simple and safe firearms policies. The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act is further proof that our Government will always stand by law-abiding firearms owners and hunters.” – Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“The changes proposed by the Harper Government strike a balance between the need to remove administrative burdens on legal, law-abiding firearms owners in Canada, and government’s intention to protect and enhance public safety. In our opinion, they have succeeded on both counts.” – Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
“The Harper Government continues to address the inadequacies in the existing firearms legislation that only serve to punish the law-abiding firearms community. This initiative will smooth out some of the bumps and make it easier for Canadians without compromising public safety.” – Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation
“Thank you for your proposed Commons Sense Firearms Licensing Act. We see it as being very reasonable and would endorse what is suggested so far.” – New Brunswick Wildlife Federation
“We are pleased that Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney is moving towards fairer firearms laws. Cutting red tape for sport shooters and hunters does not compromise public safety one iota.” – Canadian Shooting Sports Association
“The Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs [Quebec hunting and fishing federation] is thrilled with this initiative. Quebec hunters are very pleased with this bill because it simplifies the licence issuing process for law-abiding users, while reinforcing the concepts of safety and education.” – Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs
“We support smart, cost effective firearms policy that keeps Canadians safe, but treats gun owners fairly. We applaud the Harper Government’s ongoing efforts to streamline firearms licensing in Canada to make it more effective and efficient.” – Manitoba Wildlife Federation
“The Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters would like to thank the Harper Government and in particular the Hon. Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who has today started a process for restoring sensibility to Canadian firearms laws. The proposed legislation has the ability to improve the shooting opportunities for both hunters and target shooters. It will also allow thousands of gun owners to purchase new firearms and that will have a positive impact on the economy of rural Canada.” – Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters