Canadian hunters and sport shooters, like firearms owners all over the world, are committed to public safety for the most compelling reason possible: it’s in our own best interest.
No matter how we use our firearms, be it hunting with our families and friends, target shooting at the range, or competing in the shooting sports, firearm safety is always our primary concern.
Since firearms were invented, parents traditionally taught their children how to safely handle and use firearms.
As firearms became more prevalent in society, concerned citizens created organizations to formalize those traditional family practices.
Prior to the formation of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association (DCRA) in 1868, thirty-three separate groups offered a variety of firearm safety and marksmanship training to Canadians. The DCRA brought them all together and created a Canadian set of standards for firearms safety and marksmanship that are still used today.
The popularity of hunting and firearm sports grew fast during the first half of the 20th century.
Unfortunately, so did hunting and firearm accidents.
Hunters, concerned about this disturbing trend, formed groups to offer firearm safety training starting in the 1950s and, in 1960, Ontario became the first province to establish a mandatory Hunter Safety Education course, of which firearm safety training was a core element.
This concept quickly spread across the country, and hunter safety education is now mandatory in all provinces and territories.
We use education to resolve many types of issues, so it was a no-brainer to use education to deal with firearms safety as well.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) via its precursor organizations, was at the centre of these efforts. We started our first firearm safety courses many decades ago to help gun clubs offer quality safety training long before training became a legal requirement.
In the early 1990s, when the federal government wanted to impose mandatory firearm safety training, Canadian gun owners were at the forefront – using their decades of experience – to help design the firearm safety training that would ultimately become the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course.
A History of Safety
While it’s reasonable to assume these training efforts enhance public safety, there is also solid proof.
CSSA provides $5,000,000 of primary liability insurance to our members while participating in any lawful hunting or shooting sports activity. The wholesale cost of this insurance is a component of your $45/year CSSA membership. To say the least, premiums are modest!
Lloyd’s of London, the insurance company who underwrites our policy, knows hunting, target shooting and sport shooting competitions are low-risk activities. This risk assessment is the direct result of our commitment to our culture of safety and our dedication to promoting it at every opportunity.
Commitment to Community Service
Gun owners are not some ethereal separate entity. We’re part of the fabric of Canadian society and, like most other parts of our nation’s community, we’re committed to helping others when they need assistance.
For example, the Monoghan family, specifically their daughter Abbi, is the beneficiary of an annual event founded by gun owners to help the family cover the cost of over 40 pills per day required to manage Abbi’s cystinosis, a rare and incurable disease.
In similar fashion, The Buffalo Target Shooters Association hosts a fundraising event every year to support the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.
In April 2020, The Saskatoon Wildlife Federation partnered with the Saskatoon Tribal Council to provide over 1,500 meals per day to people in need due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
These are just three of many examples of gun owners giving back to our communities when it matters most.
Across Canada, gun owners work tirelessly to support the less fortunate members of our communities in a variety of ways, from food banks to Scouts to sick children to Christmas toy runs and everything in between.
It’s in our nature to help others whenever and wherever we can.
More than a Mission
Public safety is a primary concern. It is ingrained in the psyche of our nation’s firearms owners.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association is proud of our long history of leadership with respect to firearm safety training for hunters and target shooters.
We specifically designed our courses to keep shooting ranges safe and to ensure trained and qualified Range Safety Officers are available at all our member clubs.
We have staff specifically dedicated to safety training and a qualified and capable instructor corps. Our instructors are the best and we are enormously grateful for every volunteer hour they donate to the safety of shooters across this land.
Our long-standing culture of safety is one of the core values driving every decision we make.
It’s a value shared by millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
It is more than a mission, more than a tradition and far more than just a good idea.
Our culture of safety is a legacy to be proud of, and our commitment to that goal will continue to drive our association.