TEAM CSSA E-NEWS – August 26, 2014
TEAM CSSA E-NEWS – August 26, 2014 ** Please share this E-news with your friends **
COMMENTARY: GUN CLASSIFICATION NEEDS SURGERY, NOT MERE BAND-AID FIX
The Harper government appears earnest in helping gun owners slay the classification dragon, but it needs to take the beast down hammer and tongs with legislation.
The recent Swiss Arms and CZ-858 debacle dished up by the RCMP revealed the government’s distaste for being dictated to by meddling civil servants. That’s a good thing. With that said, segments of the general public (and even some gun owners) seem to believe that certain guns are inherently more evil than others and should be legislated accordingly. And so, the problem remains that the proposed fixes for classifying guns according to varying degrees of “dangerousness” plays to the foolish premise that some guns are good and some guns are bad.
Gun owners have difficulty trying to find some consensus on this issue and opinions vary all over the map. Many believe that classifications need to exist if only to placate those who think the system keeps them safe. And as much as we try to educate them, we all know how some folks take to being lectured on a subject they think they understand.
We also need to recognize that the Harper government has committed to eating this elephant one bite at a time. Like it or not, that is a political reality, and over the last several years we have seen several steps forward. And there will be more.
So with all that in mind, let’s try to envision some classification options that benefit firearms owners yet provide an adequate sense of security to the general public.
Let’s look at four possible options:
1. Create a new section within Section 12 of the Firearms Act known as section 12(9.) It would create a special category for firearms that the RCMP deems prohibited. But, people can continue to own, possess and use the firearms listed in this category. But, this option could cause public unrest if firearms that are considered prohibited can continue to be used and possessed by their owners. The government could be accused of abdicating control over prohibited firearms by letting the general public use them. Additionally, the rules to Authorizations to Transport (ATT) would have to be changed to permit these Section 12(9) firearms to be taken to a shooting range. Without this ATT change, Section 12(9) firearms would be legal to possess, but owners couldn’t use them. Even if all these changes were made, gun owners still couldn’t shoot them anywhere but on a Section 29 shooting range. So, this is certainly not the best option.
2. Declare that the firearms involved are indeed prohibited 12(3) firearms and create a provision in Section 12 to permit new firearms to be added to the 12(3) category. Additional changes would have to be made to Section 12 to permit the owners of these firearms to be grandfathered into section 12(3.) Unfortunately, this options shares the same questionable optics as the previous option. The Authorizations to Transport rules would still need amending to permit taking section 12(3) firearms to a shooting range. Without this amendment, 12(3) firearms would be permitted to own, but owners couldn’t use them. If all these changes were made, the firearms would still not be able to be used anywhere but on a Section 29 shooting range. Still not the best option.
3. Add a simple sentence to the Firearms Act that enables a Minister to declare any firearm to be non-restricted. This would add to the Minister’s powers under Order-in-Council because the ability to restrict or prohibit firearms is already within the Minister’s purview. Certainly, this is an easy fix for the CZ/Swiss Arms but it still leaves the gigantic classification mess unaddressed. And without repeal of the restrict/prohibit powers, any positive change could be easily undone by a future government.
4. A plain language rewrite of Section 12 of the Firearms Act could retain the prohibited, restricted and non-restricted categories, but Section 84(1) of the Criminal Code firearms definitions would be amended to accomplish two goals. First, it would reverse the prohibition of the CZ-858 and Swiss Arms rifles as per the Minister’s stated intention. Second, it would change Canada’s classification system into a simple and easy format for both firearms owners and police officers to understand.
• The CSSA feels that rewriting Section 12 is the best of the four solutions for a number of reasons. The problem of overnight RCMP classifications that have plagued the Harper government would be eliminated.
• These changes would also prevent the arbitrary reclassification of firearms into restricted/prohibited categories after Canadians have legally purchased them. It solves the second problem by simplifying the classification system so firearms owners, police officers and other public officials can finally understand them.
• The first category, covered under Section 12, is the “prohibited firearm.” Our proposal defines a prohibited firearm as
(a) an automatic firearm,
(b) a firearm that is adapted from a rifle or shotgun, whether by sawing, cutting or any other alteration, and that, as so adapted, is less than 660 mm in length,
• It defines a “restricted firearm” as
(a) a firearm that is not a prohibited firearm,
(b) a handgun
(c) a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise.
• It defines a “non-restricted firearm” as a firearm that is not a prohibited or restricted firearm.
This is far easier to understand than the confusing legalese used now.
It is an essential part of the political process to offer solutions, not just criticism. It seems very likely that most Canadians will be satisfied with a restructured classification system that retains the terms they recognize, but is fair to responsible, trustworthy gun owners. Firearms owners could take some satisfaction in knowing that one of the biggest shortcomings in the Firearms Act will finally be addressed. The CSSA feels this goal is achievable but we need your help. Write or call your MP and discuss these positive changes. Emphasize how this is good for all parties and help them understand how this will not compromise public safety one iota. It is important to act quickly on this, Minister Blaney’s promised bill is just around the corner.
“Allan Rock said he came to Ottawa with the belief that only the police and military should have firearms. I believe that firearms ownership is a right, but a right that comes with responsibilities” – the Hon. Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety
HELP SUPPORT THE GREAT WORK THE CSSA DOES TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. DONATE HERE
2014 ONTARIO PISTOL CHAMPIONSHIP: ONTarget: Rifle and Pistol Alliance, in conjunction with Crumlin Sportsmen’s Association, is pleased to present the 2014 Ontario Pistol Championship at Crumlin on September 6-7, 2014. All entries and questions should be forwarded to Richard Horne at [email protected] (905-859-6666). Crumlin Sportsmen’s Association is located at 3384 Gore Rd, London, ON N6M 1E9. Clubhouse phone: 519- 451-1171
BARRIE GUN CLUB 3RD ANNUAL LADIES DAY: Sunday, October 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. No experience necessary and no charge. Located at 3619 Pinegrove Road, Springwater, Ontario.
There will be plenty of safety instructors to help ladies shoot a variety of pistols, rifles and shotguns. Come out and try a shot at pistol/target shooting, skeet, cowboy action and rifle shooting. This year we’ll be offering a mini competition and if anyone wants to try larger calibre firearms, we’ll ask for a $5 donation. There will be many gifts and gift baskets to raffle off and a BBQ for a small donation.
All proceeds will be donated to Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Region. Also any cash, cheques (payable to CBCF) or credit card donations will receive a tax deductible receipt from the Foundation.
STALKING BIG BEARS: Paul Beasley brings good friend, James Vanos along as they head to New Brunswick, Canada to spot and stalk black bears with the crossbow! When a bear they were stalking got into the thick timber before they could get in range, they pulled out a predator call and became the hunted! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28QCoML7egg
JUST LIKE THE OLD DAYS: Firearms appear to be a major attraction as Canadian Tire Corp. Inc. prepares to open new Pro Shop sections at four Nova Scotia stores. “We’ve already sold more than 160 firearms and our Pro Shop doesn’t officially open until Sept. 12,” John Paul Richards, general manager of the Canadian Tire in Clayton Park, said Monday. The Clayton Park, Bedford and Dartmouth Crossing stores in the Halifax region and the Bridgewater store are each in the process of converting some space to allow for the chain’s big push into the outdoor pro shop side of the business. Yarmouth’s Canadian Tire store already features one of the new Pro Shop sections after it played a part in the development of the in-store concept in 2013 before a national rollout to many stores.
CHERYL GALLANT, M.P. SENDS ENCOURAGEMENT TO GUN OWNERS: I see an opportunity in the Federal Government’s proposed new firearms legislation to streamline the provincial Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) function in the wake of reported comments from CFOs in Quebec and P.E.I.
Law-abiding Canadians who own firearms are not served by CFOs trying to interpret proposed Federal legislation, especially to big city media that is hostile to rural Canadians who happen to enjoy heritage sporting activities like hunting. Their job has always been enforcement.
The time has come to consolidate the positions of the federally-funded provincial CFOs, and replace them with a single, national civilian led Chief Firearms Office, whose purpose is strictly administrative and friendly oriented service, a move that would also save taxpayers’ dollars and support front-line policing.
I have two motions before the House of Commons pertaining to firearms. The first motion, M-439, calls on the Federal Government to stop funding the provincial CFOs, and instead re-direct their overlapped funding to front line policing and crime prevention. This measure would also ensure the interpretation of Federal law does not vary between provinces and territories, as it does now.
The second motion, M-452, would replace the RCMP as the body responsible for reclassifying firearms, and put the power in the hands of a civilian led Firearms Technical Experts Committee. This motion would place Canadians who are experts in Firearms in charge of assessing the capabilities of new and existing firearms on the Canadian market, and use their expertise to properly classify the firearms.
I hope, with your support, the principles of M-439 and M-452 will be included in the upcoming legislation. (The Gallant Night News – August 25, 2014)
FEWER MURDERS IN CONCEALED CARRY STATES: The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).
See the rest: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504851.2013.854294#tabModule
BCWF LETTER ASKS MINISTER TO RECONSIDER MANDATORY TRAINING:
Dear Minister Blaney,
On behalf of the more than 43,000 members of the BC Wildlife Federation, I would like to once again thank yourself and the Government of Canada for taking steps to relieve the burden of the unnecessarily onerous firearms laws that effect law-abiding hunters and target shooters. To repeat what I wrote in my July 25th letter to you, Mr. Minister, BCWF Members are pleased to endorse the “Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.”
While almost all of the proposed changes in the Act are positive steps towards reforming Canada’s costly and useless firearms regulations, one of the proposals is likely to cause serious problems for rural Canadians. Due to the small numbers of qualified PAL instructors in many rural areas, making firearms safety courses mandatory for first time gun owners creates unnecessary difficulty for many young Canadians.
Adding to the problem is the fact that recently, several Chief Provincial Firearms Officers have decided to arbitrarily modify the requirements for instructors of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. While possibly well intentioned, these unnecessary bureaucratic conditions will drastically reduce the number of instructors delivering courses in rural areas.
On behalf of the members of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, I urge you not to eliminate the option to challenge the PAL exam.
I would also like to take this opportunity to correct an error in my July 25th letter. The grace period that BCWF Members are particularly concerned about is the one following the expiry of their PAL. BCWF commends the government for proposing to introduce a grace period after the expiry of a PAL that would allow the holders to renew their gun license. However, on behalf of our members I would urge that the grace period be a minimum of one year, and would preferably be even longer. Indeed, no risk to public safety would exist if PALs were issued for the life of the firearms owners. As an example, this is currently the case in New Zealand. Given that holders of even expired PALs are screened nightly, a failure to renew does not pose a risk to public safety.
Of course, during this grace period bureaucratic restrictions might be imposed upon a holder of an expired PAL in order to motivate him/her to renew: for example, he/she could be prevented from buying or selling a firearm.
In closing, let me thank you again for making these needed changes. The steps announced on July 23rd are thoughtful and judicious, and we look forward to the government making even more positive changes to our firearms laws and regulations in the future.
Yours in conservation,
B.C. Wildlife Federation
George Wilson, BCWF President
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada’s firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities.
To join or donate to the CSSA, visit: http://www.cdnshootingsports.org/membership.html
To subscribe to the CSSA-CILA E-NEWS, send email to: [email protected] or visit http://lists.cssa-cila.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/cssa-cila-e-news.
To unsubscribe send email to: [email protected]
To change your address or manage your subscription options, visit: http://lists.cssa-cila.org/cgi-bin/mailman/options/cssa-cila-e-news
CANADIAN SHOOTING SPORTS ASSOCIATION / CANADIAN INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION
116 Galaxy Blvd, Etobicoke ON M9W 4Y6
Phone 416-679-9959, Fax: 416-679-9910
Toll Free: 1-888-873-4339
E-Mail: [email protected]