Generally referred to as the ‘Common Sense Firearms Act’, Bill C-42 was introduced in October 2014 with the aim of simplifying the gun licensing process. With the bill’s passing, these changes to the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code do the following:
- Make classroom participation in firearms safety courses mandatory for first-time licence applicants;
- Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers (CFOs) to be subject to the regulations;
- Strengthen the Criminal Code provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offence involving domestic violence; and
- Provide the Governor in Council with the authority to prescribe firearms to be non-restricted or restricted (such prescribing would be informed by independent expert advice).
The Harper government has demonstrated again its commitment to the firearms community in Canada, and lived up to its promise to remove or reduce red tape and unnecessary regulations and restrictions on legal, trained, law-abiding firearms owners.
Greg Farrant, Manager of Government Affairs and Policy for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, called the legislation a good mix of common sense firearms policies and measures to enhance public safety.
“With the passage of Bill C-42, the Common Sense Firearms Act, the Harper government has demonstrated again its commitment to the firearms community in Canada, and lived up to its promise to remove or reduce red tape and unnecessary regulations and restrictions on legal, trained, law-abiding firearms owners,” Farrant said.
Within the next several months, upon a date fixed by an order in council, the following changes will come into effect:
- Creation of 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 licence renewals;
- Elimination of the Possession Only Licence (POL) and conversion of all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licences (PALs);
- Authorizations to Transport become a condition of a licence for certain routine and lawful activities such as target shooting; taking a firearm home after a transfer; going to a gunsmith, gun show, a Canadian port of exit; or a peace officer or a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) for verification, registration or disposal; and
- Sharing of firearms import information when restricted and prohibited firearms are imported into Canada by businesses.
For more information, visit the Public Safety Canada website.