Firearms Law Reform Proposals Welcome, But Offer No Lasting Solutions
“The Conservative Government’s firearms law reform proposals recognize many of the problems with Canada’s broken firearms control system, but ultimately do not solve them” said National Firearms Association Executive Vice President Blair Hagen.
“Reforms are welcome and a step in the right direction, said Hagen, but the government must understand the current Firearms Act is basically misdirected and punishes law abiding gun owners, and these changes are merely housekeeping.
The proposed extension of the amnesty for reclassified Swiss Arms/ CZ 858 rifles allows owners to lawfully transport and use their property but fails to reverse the effects of prohibition. Prohibition destroys the value of property and essentially enacts a slow-moving confiscation. Under these proposals, owners of these firearms still cannot legally sell or transfer this property to family members or other law abiding individuals.
“What is the ultimate fate of this property?” asked NFA Executive Vice President Blair Hagen
Most Swiss Arms and CZ 858 rifles were non-restricted and did not require registration at the time of the reclassification, this complicates the terms of the amnesty. The RCMP should not know who owns these rifles, nor can many owners prove when they acquired their rifles to claim protection under the amnesty. By allowing their lawful transport and use, it seems that the government is indicating that Swiss Arms/CZ 858 rifles are less of a risk to public safety than other rifles owned by Canadians and prohibited under the Firearms Act.
“This confuses the entire issue and makes the government’s intent unclear” continued Hagen.
The combining of Authorizations to Transport (ATT) with restricted firearms licenses makes practical sense in reducing red tape however the ATT regulation itself has no benefits for public safety. “Separate authorizations are still required for other legitimate activities and purposes. Firearms bureaucrats will find new ways to target firearms license holders” says Hagen.
The announcement that the government intends to address Section 58(1) of the Firearms Act is more significant. “Many of the problems associated with the 1995 Firearms Act stem from this section and the unlimited and arbitrary powers it grants to provincial Chief Firearms Officers and firearms bureaucrats. Canada’s National Firearms Association is extremely interested in the details of this proposal” said NFA Executive Vice President Hagen.
Licensing reforms in the form of ending the Possession Only License in favour of the Possession/Acquisition License and grace periods for license renewals are long overdue housekeeping and will ultimately only have a benign effect on streamlining and reducing the bureaucratic firearms regime. “This is still a mandatory license for simple ownership or possession of a firearm. Proposed Conservative licensing reforms merely soften the blow”.
Canada’s National Firearms Association appreciates Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney’s announcement and the government’s apparent attention and good will in acting on these matters, but reminds them that the only solution to fixing Canada’s failed firearms control system is new legislation from this Conservative Government to replace the 1995 C-68 Firearms Act completely.
At over 70,000 members, Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest advocacy organization promoting the rights and freedoms of all responsible firearm owners and users.
For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Contact Us
Shawn Bevins, Executive VP 819-313-2887 Contact Us (français)
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Contact Us
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca