New Gun Laws

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More Gun Laws Coming?

Here in Canada, we have a federal government that just can’t seem to stop attempting inroads into legal gun ownership. In the video above I lay out my positions about firearms ownership.

First, the law as it exists. Canada has a multi stage licensing system for legal gun ownership. It’s call the Possession Acquisition License (PAL). To obtain a PAL, an applicant needs to show the federal police a few things. First, they need to have taken a safety course, which is administered by a licensed teacher. Second, they need to have a clean background check. Clean meaning any deviations from what the RCMP consider to exclude an applicant from a license. Third, an applicant needs to explain why they’d like to have a license. An answer like “I want to keep a loaded 9mm under my pillow”, will be rejected. Proper uses are things like hunting, hobby shooting, collecting.

Now, if an applicant obtains a PAL, this allows them to buy Non-Restricted firearms. To pare the entire category down, this includes shotguns and long barrel rifles.

How about AR-15's and pistols?

Well, the next category is the Restricted PAL (RPAL). To apply for this license, another course is required, with further checks conducted in the same fashion as the PAL. Once an RPAL is obtained, this allows a licensed owner to purchase pistols and rifles with a shorter barrel.

A consideration with regards to rifles is that all rifles in Canada legally have magazines that are “pinned” to 5 rounds. So those big AR-15 magazines we see, actually can’t hold the standard 30 rounds as there is a pin plugged into the side of the magazine. Having a magazine that isn’t pinned to 5 rounds, while in possession of a RPAL, is a criminal offense.

There is a further license category called Prohibited. Very few Canadians have this license category. This license allows for silencers, large magazines, and very short pistols. Although there is varying reports of why/how to obtain this license, my understanding is that ranges and companies that rent firearms to movie sets are the primary holders.

So, gun laws in Canada are already very robust, and in my opinion have a fair number of concessions to appease the public in the perception of firearms. This includes the mandatory safe storage requirements and limitations on where/when firearms can be transported. Generally, firearms can only be taken to a range or armorer, otherwise the RCMP needs to be notified and approve any other movement. Even further, restricted firearms can only be shot at an approved range. Hunting cannot be conducted with a short barrel rifle or pistol(restricted firearms).

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But Why?

I’ve seen a lot of questions regarding the “Why”. Why is firearms ownership necessary.   This is a two part answer for me.

First – I train with firearms as I was in the military and I’m a retired police officer. The skills I developed in those professions took a great deal of time and expense to hone, and I don’t seek to let them fade. With that, I actively train with retired/active military & police who share a similar interest.

Make no mistake, the ability to train with firearms under stress adds efficacy to combat situation involving shoot/no shoot scenarios. The ability for armed professionals to train outside of work is imperative in the presence of the negligent training they receive at work. Skills developed and held by retired professionals augments that ability.

There are many other communities holistically contained within firearms owners. For example, there are IPSC shooters who shoot competitively for time. There are hobbyist who enjoy attending the range, and hunters who shoot for obvious purpose.

When these communities come together to shoot, it’s not only fun, but also a progression in skill development for all lawful gun owners. 

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Currently, we have former police chief Bill Blair spear heading the campaign against legal gun ownership in Canada. This is laughable, due to his failure to ensure adequate training protocols for Toronto Police Service officers. The most glaring example of this failure was the Toronto Street Car shooting.

Untrained, unfit officers expected to respond to ostensibly combative situations with firearms… What could go wrong. Only a politician would create a boogeyman out of licensed owners, after having failed so heavily in their own conduct.

My final point is on the point of why have firearms ownership at all. To me, a country that acknowledges firearms ownership, with restrictions, is a country that is demonstrating foresight. The foresight is that of not entering the rabbit hole of outlawing any object or device that could be used as an implement of violence. Violent people cause violence, and for a government to haplessly outlaw one implement, does nothing to address the core issue – Violent people.

In fact, it would seem that this government’s approach to violent people is just the opposite. Our jails and borders are open, police are being prevented from proactively policing, and courts are lenient on dangerous and violent criminals.

During my time as a front line police officer, and in paying attention to the news – most of those people committing gun violence aren’t licensed owners. In fact, many of them are already on court ordered weapons prohibitions as a result of previous violent offense convictions.

How these failures of government fall in the lap of legal gun owners is beyond me, and I hope to see a more prudent and evidence based approach to firearms ownership here in Canada.

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