Vol. 149, No. 16 — August 12, 2015
SI/2015-80 August 12, 2015
COMMON SENSE FIREARMS LICENSING ACT
Order Fixing September 2, 2015 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2015-1172 July 31, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to subsection 38(2) of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2015, fixes September 2, 2015 as the day on which subsection 2(1), sections 6 and 11 and subsection 13(1) of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
This Order, pursuant to subsection 38(2) of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act (the Act), chapter 27 of the Statutes of Canada, 2015, fixes September 2, 2015, as the day on which subsection 2(1), sections 6 and 11 and subsection 13(1) of that Act come into force to simplify firearms transportation requirements.
The purpose of this Order is to eliminate the requirement for an individual to separately apply for an Authorization to Transport (ATT) for certain transportation activities. ATTs would become a condition attached to the licence.
Pursuant to the Firearms Act, individuals who wish to acquire restricted and/or prohibited firearms must demonstrate to a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) that the acquisition of the firearm is for one of the following purposes: protection of life; for use in connection with a lawful profession or occupation; for use in target practice or a target shooting competition; or, to form part of a gun collection.
Restricted and prohibited firearms may only be possessed by the licenced individual either at his or her residence or at a place authorized by a CFO (e.g. shooting range/club). To transport such firearms between approved locations, an ATT, issued by a CFO, is required. Pursuant to paragraph 93(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, it is an offence to possess such firearms at a place other than at the place which is indicated on the authorization (an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or punishable on summary conviction). ATTs are not required for non-restricted firearms.
ATTs are not issued for each firearm. Rather, an ATT can authorize the transport of any number of firearms, so long as it is for one legitimate purpose (e.g. change of residence, shooting competition, gun show or repair). Firearms being transported for more than one purpose (e.g. appraisal and sale) require separate authorizations. There is no cost to obtain an ATT.
CFOs may issue an ATT if, in their opinion, doing so will not pose a threat to public safety. The process and length of time for an ATT to be processed may vary depending on the scrutiny applied by the CFOs.
Conditions attached to the ATT may also vary. Ontario, for example, adds a requirement that ATT holders carry an invitation to a range (or a notice of competition) if they attend a shooting range or club to which they are not a member. Quebec and Prince Edward Island limit the transport of firearms to the range/shooting club to which the ATT holder is a member, while Western provinces permit the transport to any CFO-approved range within the province.
Once issued, an individual must meet the transportation requirements under the Act (i.e. that the firearm be unloaded; locked in a container; and, if left in an unattended vehicle, that the container not be visible from outside the vehicle [e.g. locked in the trunk]). It is an offence to contravene these transportation regulations (imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years [first offence] or five years [subsequent offence] or punishable on summary conviction).
The Firearms Act provides that an ATT may be issued as a licence condition. In practice, however, the ATT is applied for and issued as a separate document, which individuals must carry in addition to their licence and registration certificate(s).
The Order would require a Chief Firearms Officer to automatically issue, as a condition on the licence, and for specific reasons, an ATT when he or she approves the transfer (i.e. change in ownership) of a restricted or prohibited firearm. The effect of this change is to eliminate the requirement for an individual to separately apply for an ATT for certain transport activities, such as
- going to and from all CFO approved shooting clubs or ranges within an individual’s province of residence;
- taking a firearm home after a transfer (e.g. purchase at a gun store);
- going to and from the following:
- a gunsmith;
- a gun show;
- a Canadian port of entry or exit; or
- a peace officer or a Chief Firearms Officer for verification, registration or disposal.
The Authorization to Transport Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Firearms Regulations would be amended to make it clear that there is no requirement, as a condition of transport, to maintain a membership to a CFO-approved shooting club or range.
Approximately 140 000 ATTs are issued nationally each year, the majority of which are for target practice/sports shooting.
A number of stakeholders, including the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee, have expressed concern regarding the inconsistent application of the ATT process in various jurisdictions, the administrative burden associated with the varying practices, and the requirement to carry the ATT as a separate document [with a firearms licence and registration certificate(s)]. They have also questioned the need for an ATT given the significant training and screening requirements to obtain a licence and the subsequent approval process to obtain restricted/prohibited firearms.
A news release from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will be issued and relevant information on those changes will be provided via the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Firearms Program.
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