Municipal Firearms Restrictions — OFAH Election ask (2022)
As part of the comprehensive list of priorities we’ve outlined for the next provincial government heading into the June 2 election, the OFAH has outlined what we’re asking for when it comes to dealing with municipal firearms restrictions. We are asking the next government — whichever party that may be — to do the following:
Permit Sunday gun hunting province-wide; and
Create guidelines that limit municipal authority to restrict firearms
SUNDAY GUN HUNTING: OFAH staff attends numerous municipal committee and council meetings across the province to push for Sunday gun hunting opportunities, and each year a few more are added to the list thanks in large part to that advocacy. Today, there’s a total of 187 municipalities that permit Sunday gun hunting. The time has come now, though, for blanket approval of all remaining municipalities that have not yet approved Sunday gun hunting. We are regularly seeing municipalities vote against it simply based on their own personal views and opinions around hunting and firearms use, and that needs to change.
For more on the importance of Sunday gun hunting opportunities in Ontario, check out this OFAH Insider post from our Brian McRae.
MUNICIPAL FIREARMS RESTRICTIONS: We are asking for some provincial oversight if/when municipalities attempt to restrict firearms at the local level. Currently, there are no guidelines to which municipalities must adhere to when attempting to restrict firearm use at the municipal level. Most municipal restrictions come in the form of discharge of firearms by-laws. This needs to be addressed so that overly restrictive discharge of firearm by-laws can’t be implemented at a municipal level. Under section 119 of the Municipality Act, a municipality can create, amend and implement a discharge of firearms by-law in the interest of public safety. However, at this time there are no guidelines, criteria, or measures in place that require a municipality to prove a public safety issue actually exists when instituting restrictions. Creating guidelines that would require a municipality to prove public safety concerns would go a long way in preventing municipalities from simply implementing by-laws without justification.