The VOICE of Anglers and Hunters since 1928

Government plan targets law-abiding Canadian firearm owners

OFAH calls on all levels of government for evidence-based approach to gun violence

The new federal government made an election commitment to ban ‘all military-style assault rifles, including the AR-15’ and to work with all provinces and territories to give municipalities the ability to further restrict, or ban handguns.

That mandate has prompted municipal leaders to debate and take positions on firearms in communities across Canada. Last week, the City of Toronto became the latest municipality to weigh-in on firearms policies calling for national firearm bans.

The OFAH obviously doesn’t support a ‘firearms ban’ approach to reducing violent crime, and groups of qualified professionals like the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) agree, acknowledging that Canada currently has strict firearms laws and actions like a handgun ban won’t address the issue of illegal firearms and organized crime.

Unfortunately, the federal government has created a dialogue that focuses on law-abiding Canadians, distracts from real issues, and creates a false sense of security in a plan that has little potential to reduce crime. The government has regularly used misleading statistics and capitalized on a lack of public understanding for Canada’s existing firearms laws in an effort to generate support for firearms bans.

As part of the government’s plan, they’ve pledged $250 million for a ban and buy-back program that will do nothing but siphon much needed investment from addressing the root causes of gun violence and delay meaningful action to enhance public safety. It’s an unacceptable approach.

“The OFAH is calling for true government leadership on the issue of violent crime and illegal firearms,” says OFAH president Rob Hare. “We need investments that support policing and the justice system to target violent crime and illegal firearms, as well as programming that will focus on the social determinants and other root causes that lead to violence, gun violence and organized crime. We don’t need to spend money to take firearms out of the hands of responsible, law-abiding Canadians.”

Standing up against firearms proposals that do absolutely nothing to reduce crime, and do everything to attack responsible gun owners is the reason Canadians count on the OFAH.

“We are not going to tolerate more wasted tax dollars on government schemes that target hunters, sport shooters and gun collectors – especially since we are the ones who advocate for firearms safety and training, and keep conservation and the economy strong through participation in outdoor pastimes,” Hare adds.

The Government of Ontario has been clear in their opposition to firearm bans and their desire to focus action on reducing illegal gun and gang violence. The OFAH fully supports this common-sense approach that respects law-abiding firearms owners. The federal government has stated they want to respect firearms owners; however, their past and proposed actions don’t support this promise.

There is time to change that, though.

“It’s not too late to have meaningful discussions and find a path forward that truly respects law-abiding Canadian firearms owners,” says Hare. “The OFAH is committed to working with all levels of government to reframe discussions, investment, and policy on the issues that will actually keep Canadians safe.”

FACTS ON FIREARMS:

  • There are 3 main types of firearms licences in Canada (non-restricted, restricted, prohibited).
  • Restricted and prohibited firearms are already required to be registered with the RCMP, and their use is significantly constrained through strict regulation.
  • Firearm ownership and related activities are becoming increasingly popular in Canada, with 2.1 million licensed firearms owners; more than 880,000 restricted firearms (April 2019); approximately 4,500 firearm and ammunition businesses; and approximately 1,400 shooting ranges.
  • All firearms licence applicants are subject to a background check by the RCMP.
  • Licence holders undergo daily ‘continuous eligibility’ screening.