“The firearms laws are so complicated, and so convoluted, that they have become the perfect example of injustice in the name of justice. To fix this, I propose we replace the current Firearms Act with clear legislation based on reason, not on fear.” – Maxime Bernier
To enable replacing the Firearms Act (1995), some amendments and redactions could be made to improve the existing Act. The Act was manifested originally from Bill C-68. These changes would provide further respect to firearm owners.
There are three areas that the leader of the PPC Party, Maxime Bernier, states he would like to focus on: licensing, classification of firearms, and magazine sizes.
Licensing: “I will double the length of firearms licenses from 5 to 10 years.” – Maxime Bernier
There would need to be a change in Sections 64(a), 65(3), and 120(3)(a) in order to accomplish the extension. All three of these Sections reference a 5 year term for the license, easily substituted to a 10 year term.
Additionally, the license for museums should be changed from 3 to 10 years [Section 122(2)(b)], eliminating the obstacles in finding or receiving the funds for the frequent licensing. There are currently just over 2,300 museums in Canada.
The clause in Section 121(4)(c) should be revised. It states, when a Minor receives their Minor’s Permit, it expires 5 years from issuance or when they turn 18 years of age, whichever is less. The glitch is when a 12 year old receives their Minor’s Permit, and they only have 5 years maximum, they will be 17 years of age. This would leave them unlicensed for a whole year until they can receive their full Possession and Acquisition License. This is found to be disrespectful and unnecessary. The Section should be revised to state that a Minor’s Permit shall expire on the permit holder’s 18th birthday.
Throughout the Act there is a loose term referenced as ‘gun collector”. Anyone who has more than 10 firearms is considered a gun collector, as per the Act [Section 102(1)]. Being classified as a Collector exposes the license holder to more restrictions [Section 30 (a), 30(b), and 30(c)]. To repair this bureaucratic ignorance, the sections including the words ‘gun collection’ or ‘gun collector’ should be removed. This can be found in Section 28(b)(ii), Section 30 (entirely), 102(1), 104(3)(a), and 117(f).
Classification of Firearms: “Non-Restricted: (a) a firearm that is not a prohibited or restricted firearms.
Prohibited: (a) a fully-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. (c) a firearm that is listed as prohibited prior to June 20, 2016.
Restricted: (a) a firearm that is not a prohibited firearm, (b) a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm, (c) a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise.” – Maxime Bernier
Ideally, this would simplify the definitions that are attached to the different classifications of the firearms license. This new outlook on classes eliminates the illogical definition of a prohibited weapon. To clarify, it eliminates the 105mm rule and the .25 and .32 caliber prohibition.
Current law states that if a firearm’s barrel length is 105mm, or less, it is classified as prohibited, where 106mm is in the restricted class. Current law also classifies .25 and .32 caliber as prohibited, with an exemption to some competition shooting firearms. The caliber ban was mainly because they were originally manufactured in most self defense, short barreled handguns. If a specific minimum length was still required, a change from 105mm to 100mm would work. The law was set at 105mm to deter the importation of American made handguns into Canada. The standard American handgun barrel length is measured in inches. 105mm is approximately 4.13 inches. Therefore a 4 inch standard American handgun was ultimately eliminated from the Canadian market.
Under the quoted restricted definition, Part (b) should be eliminated since it appears to be redundant to Part (a).
On a side note, the word crossbow needs to be removed from the Firearms Act. A crossbow is not considered a firearm, and a license is not required to purchase or use a crossbow. There is a crossbow that has been prohibited in Canada because of its extremely small size which was used in a murder. This is listed in the Criminal Code of Canada as a prohibited device and does not apply to the Firearms Act. Sections 2(1) Definition of Business, 5(1), 6(1), 7(4)(e), 8(4), and 61(4) all reference crossbows in the list when naming types of firearms.
Magazine Sizes: “My proposal would repeal the ineffective, and frankly nonsensical, magazine capacity restrictions.” – Maxime Bernier
Current law is tricky to explain when it comes to magazines. Generally speaking, the Criminal Code of Canada, Section III, pertains to firearm regulations, ie. magazine capacity limits. Most limits are 10 rounds for a handgun, and 5 rounds for a long gun, depending on your activity of use. If the pistol magazine fits the long gun, then the capacity is 10 rounds. Capacity limits are based off of manufactured purpose. If the pistol magazine is manufactured as a 40 S&W, but fits in the same model gun as a 9mm Luger, then the capacity is now 14 rounds because 14 rounds of 9mm Luger will fit a 10 round magazine designed for 40 S&W rounds . If the ammunition is rimfire, as opposed to center fire, then there is no limit on capacity.
Brenda Lucki is the Commissioner of Firearms whom is in charge of the administration aspects of the Act. Perhaps she is the authority to contact regarding the following insignificant matters.
Section 97(3) is lacking a pronoun in its explanation of who can be exempt from the Act Provincially governed. To maintain sequential continuity to the prior clauses 97(1) and 97(2), non-resident is the missing pronoun.
Section 9(6)(a) refers to antique firearms allowed in a licensed museum. If a firearm is classified as antique, it is no longer a firearm and does not require a special license to use, or obtain, or be in possession of. This confusion in word use could easily be clarified by replacing ‘antique’ with ‘historical significance’.