Week of July 03 – July 07, 2006
On June 19, 2006, the new Conservative Government fulfilled its promise to abolish the long-gun registry. The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, tabled legislative amendments to free Canadians from the requirement to register their non-restricted firearms.
Once passed, the newly-introduced Bill will repeal the requirement for long-gun owners to register their hunting rifles and shotguns. Certain requirements will remain in place, such as firearms owners will still require a valid firearms license to purchase or possess firearms and to purchase ammunition. In addition, firearms owners will still be required to undergo background checks and pass a safety training course.
The amendments introduced in last week’s Bill will require current owners to verify that a potential purchaser or another new owner of their non-restricted firearm has a valid firearms license by contacting the Chief Firearms Officer. This measure will assist in ensuring that guns do not end up in the hands of individuals who shouldn’t have them, such as convicted criminals. It will also help investigators identify the owners of stolen firearms or conduct criminal investigations.
The Conservative Government has also reintroduced the requirement for businesses to maintain records of all transactions involving the sale, purchase, or disposal of non-restricted firearms. This is yet another measure to assist police investigators in locating owners of stolen firearms or those used in the commission of a crime.
In the coming months, the Government will be consulting with the provinces, territories, and other stakeholders across Canada on extra measures to improve the Firearms Act, including instituting lifetime licensing for firearm owners. The measures will strive to ensure that gun control in Canada focuses on fighting crime and doesn’t target law-abiding gun owners, such as duck hunters and farmers.
Once the House of Commons returns in the fall, the proposed legislation will follow the normal procedures and will ultimately be brought forward for a vote. Until the legislation is approved, the temporary amnesty introduced by the Government, on May 17, 2006, will ease the burden on firearms owners by protecting currently licensed and previously-licensed owners of non-restricted firearms from prosecution and to allow those individuals to comply with all laws and regulations by May 17, 2007.
If you are interested in learning more about the roles and responsibilities of firearms owners in Canada, or for more information on how recent and proposed changes affect your obligations, please contact the RCMP’s Canada Firearms Centre at 1-800-731-4000, or visit their website at http://cfc-cafc.gc.ca.