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Bill C-42, the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act

Special Business Bulletin No. 91

On June 18, 2015, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Steven Blaney, highlighted the Royal Assent of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.This legislation amends the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code.

The news release published by Public Safety Canada provided the following information:

Effective immediately, these changes to the Firearms Act and the Criminal Code do the following:

  • Make classroom participation in firearms safety courses mandatory for first-time licence applicants;
  • Provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers (CFOs) to be subject to the regulations;
  • Strengthen the Criminal Code provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offence involving domestic violence; and
  • Provide the Governor in Council with the authority to prescribe firearms to be non-restricted or restricted (such prescribing would be informed by independent expert advice).

Within the next several months, upon a date fixed by an order in council, the following changes will come into effect:

  • Creation of a six-month grace period at the end of the five-year licence period to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork delays around license renewals;   
  • Elimination of the Possession Only Licence (POL) and conversion of all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licences (PALs);
  • Authorizations to Transport become a condition of a licence for certain routine and lawful activities such as target shooting; taking a firearm home after a transfer; going to a gunsmith, gun show, a Canadian port of exit; or a peace officer or a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) for verification, registration or disposal; and
  • Sharing of firearms import information when restricted and prohibited firearms are imported into Canada by businesses.

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