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Guns Not So Easy to Obtain Legally, Canadians Discover

The COVID-19 crisis is giving many Canadians a rude awakening about just how hard it is to legally purchase a gun in Canada.

Most are shocked to realize they must take and pass a government-mandated firearm safety course. They’re even more distressed to learn firearm safety courses are cancelled until at least mid-April, and probably longer.

Even if you could convince someone to teach you the course it still wouldn’t allow you to purchase a gun because the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program is not: [i]

  • processing new firearm licence applications
  • processing mail-in licence renewals, or
  • issuing Possession and Acquisition Licence cards

Almost all provincial Chief Firearms Officers have ordered firearm safety training courses cancelled until further notice.

British Columbia is the rare exception but, while the CFO has not ordered all training to cease, most reputable safety course trainers are cancelling courses anyway.

“I understand that many, if not most, instructors have already responded to the direction of our senior health and government officials and postponed safety course delivery until the current COVID-19 health emergency has safely passed,” BC Chief Firearms Officer Terry Hamilton wrote in a March 26th email sent to all BC/Yukon instructors. 

“For anyone who has chosen to continue offering courses, I am asking you to postpone course delivery immediately and until further notice,” she said.

This was a request, not an order to cease training because most firearm safety courses consist of a dozen students or less, and the BC Government imposed of a 50-person maximum for all public gatherings two weeks ago.

Travis Bader, owner of Silvercore Advanced Training Systems in British Columbia, cancelled all his company’s firearm safety courses on March 20th, a week before the CFO’s request, despite the challenge shutting down means for his company and his employees.

“If I hadn’t shut down our training, the demand is so great we could be running firearm safety courses day and night around the clock,” Bader said, “not that passing the course would matter right now, since the Canadian Firearm Program is not processing applications. Instead, we’re offering free access to our online CFSC/CRFSC course so people can study safely at home while we wait for in-person training to resume.”[ii]

One of the beautiful things about Canada’s firearms community is we typically do what’s best, even if it’s not the best for us, personally. 

As we wrote in last week’s commentary[iii], “These aren’t things we talk about very often because for our community, this behaviour is simply normal. It’s nothing to raise an eyebrow over. It’s what we do. It’s how we live our lives.”

Stay safe, everyone.

 

Sources:

 


From the RCMP’s website:

Impacts on services due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Due to measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian Firearms Program is currently experiencing significant impacts to our services, like many other service providers in Canada.

  • Clients may experience longer than normal wait times when calling the contact centre
  • The processing of applications for a new firearm licence is on hold until further notice
  • The production of firearms licence cards is on hold until further notice
  • The delivery of Firearms Safety Course (s) may be postponed due to social distancing protocols

Firearm licence expiry

  • As per the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, since October 2017, individuals have a six-month extension (grace) period past the expiry date printed on their firearms licence card to submit a renewal application online
  • Your firearms licence card will remain valid, with limitations, during this extension (grace) period
  • Individuals can check the status of their firearms licence application via Individual Web Services.

Firearm licence renewal

  • The processing of firearms licence renewal applications submitted by mail is on hold until further notice
  • We recommend submitting your application to renew your firearms licence via Individual Web Services.
  • Individuals can check the status of their firearms licence application via Individual Web Services.

As this is an evolving situation, we will continue to provide updates on our website as required.

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