Federal gun control will waste billions regulating the wrong people

Federal gun control legislation introduced this week will squander billions of dollars on firearm buybacks and increased regulation of legal firearm owners that should be spent apprehending criminals, according to the B.C. Wildlife Federation. 

Legally obtained firearms are seldom used in the commission of crimes in Canada because this country has extremely stringent rules about who can obtain and possess firearms. Canadian firearm owners have an enviable track record of care and responsibility. 

The federal government has tabled legislation that would freeze the sale or transfer of legal handguns and implement a mandatory buyback program for “assault-style” firearms, the vast majority of which are used for hunting. 

“Firearm buybacks and handgun bans are a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in Canada,” said BCWF Executive Director Jesse Zeman. “This isn’t the United States. In Canada, it takes specialized training and weeks if not months of background checks to obtain a Possession and Acquisition License.” 

Obtaining a Possession and Acquisition License required for the purchase of a firearm in Canada is a rigorous process that typically takes four to six months, but at a minimum includes a 28-day waiting period. 

Before applying for a PAL, applicants must take at least eight hours of training and pass a written and practical test. The Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course required to apply for a handgun permit is two days. 

Background checks extend over the lifetime of the applicant and include searches for a history of harassment, restraining orders, or criminal activity. Applicants must supply two character references and the RCMP may interview you, your references, your current spouse and former spouses and common-law partners. Any irregularity can result in denial of the application. 

Owning firearms for hunting and sport shooting are the only valid reasons for obtaining a possession license. Self-defence is not considered a valid reason to own a firearm in Canada. 

Only law-abiding citizens can retain a PAL. The names of people charged with crimes in Canada are checked against the list of PAL holders daily. 

The BCWF is urging the federal government to properly fund law enforcement agencies to catch and prosecute people who commit criminal offences with firearms and to bolster the Canadian Border Services Agency to stop the flow of illegal handguns across our borders. 

More than 90 per cent of gun-related crime in Canada is committed with firearms smuggled from the United States. 

“Further regulating hunters and sport shooters is a waste of the RCMP’s time and taxpayers’ money, money that could be spent catching criminals,” said Zeman. 

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