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Archived - Harper Government brings common sense to firearms licensing

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July 23, 2014    North Bay, Ontario        Public Safety Canada

Today, the Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced the coming-into-force of an expanded Order Declaring an Amnesty Period (2014). This Order will ensure that law-abiding owners of CZ 858 or Swiss Arms family of rifles are now able to fully use their property.

Additionally, the Government of Canada announced its intention to table the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, which will:  

  • Merge the Possession Only License (POL) and the Possession and Acquisition License (PAL);
  • Restrict the ability of Chief Firearms Officers to make arbitrary decisions;
  • Create a grace period at the end of the five-year licence to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork errors;
  • End needless paperwork around Authorizations to Transport by making them a condition of a license;
  • Require mandatory firearms safety courses for first-time gun owners; and
  • Strengthen firearms prohibitions for those who are convicted of domestic violence offences.

Quick Facts

  • The amnesty for law-abiding owners of the CZ 858 or Swiss Arms family of rifles will expire on March 14, 2016.
  • The Order Declaring an Amnesty Period (2014) will allow owners of the impacted firearms to use their property.
  • Intended amendments to the Firearms Act and Criminal Code would streamline licensing and eliminate red tape for law-abiding firearms owners.


“These measures would streamline licensing and eliminate needless red tape for law-abiding gun owners. It would also take steps to ensure that those convicted of domestic violence offences can be banned from owning firearms. My foremost priority is keeping the public safe, through common sense policies.” 

– The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

“The changes proposed by the Harper Government strike a balance between the need to remove administrative burdens on legal, law-abiding firearms owners in Canada, and government’s intention to protect and enhance public safety. In our opinion, they have succeeded on both counts.”

– Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

“The Harper Government continues to address the inadequacies in the existing firearms legislation that only serve to punish the law-abiding firearms community. This initiative will smooth out some of the bumps and make it easier for Canadians without compromising public safety.”

– Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation

“Thank you for your proposed Commons Sense Firearms Licensing Act. We see it as being very reasonable and would endorse what is suggested so far.”

– New Brunswick Wildlife Federation

“We are pleased that Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney is moving towards fairer firearms laws. Cutting red tape for sport shooters and hunters does not compromise public safety one iota.”

– Canadian Shooting Sports Association

“The Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs [Quebec hunting and fishing federation] is thrilled with this initiative. Quebec hunters are very pleased with this bill because it simplifies the licence issuing process for law-abiding users, while reinforcing the concepts of safety and education.”

– Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs

“We support smart, cost effective firearms policy that keeps Canadians safe, but treats gun owners fairly. We applaud the Harper Government’s ongoing efforts to streamline firearms licensing in Canada to make it more effective and efficient.”

– Manitoba Wildlife Federation

“The Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters would like to thank the Harper Government and in particular the Hon. Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who has today started a process for restoring sensibility to Canadian firearms laws. The proposed legislation has the ability to improve the shooting opportunities for both hunters and target shooters. It will also allow thousands of gun owners to purchase new firearms and that will have a positive impact on the economy of rural Canada.” 

– Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters


Jason Tamming
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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