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Archived - The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act receives Royal Assent

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June 18, 2015               Ottawa, Ontario             Public Safety Canada

Today, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Steven Blaney, highlighted the Royal Assent of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.

The Act amends the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act and advances the Harper Government’s goal of improving the safety of our communities while ensuring safe and sensible firearms policies and cutting red tape for law-abiding firearms owners.

Quick Facts

  • 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.


“At the heart of our Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act is increased safety for Canadians and restoring respect for Canadian heritage activities like hunting and sport shooting. This Bill addresses both these aspects and delivers on our government’s promise that hunters, farmers and sports-shooters will no longer be treated like second-class citizens.”
- The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

I am very pleased at the government's Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act (C-42) as it is a needed step towards reforming our costly and useless firearms regulations.  A few of the initiatives included in it are particularly helpful; specifically, introducing a grace period for renewing gun licenses, limiting the powers of provincial Chief Firearms Officers, and upgrading possession only licenses (POL) to the status of possession-and-acquisition (PAL) licenses. POL holders earned this upgrade as they have been law abiding since they received their licence.
- Gary Mauser, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University

“The passing of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act will go a long way to restore some dignity back to the firearms community of Canada. For the past 20 years the existing legislation has made paper criminals of people who use firearms for recreation and gave power to some of those in charge of the system the ability to abuse it. The positive changes in this act will hopefully attract hunters and shooters who gave up on our sports back again. Our thanks go out to Minister Steven Blaney and the Prime Minister Harper for their foresight, and we look forward to more rational change in the future.”
- Tony Rodgers, Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters

“We appreciate this effort to streamline the overly complicated firearms licensing regulations which have created such an unjustified burden on so many of our member businesses and  customers. The fishing tackle industry and the millions of Canadians who fish, hunt and enjoy target shooting all benefit from this common sense legislation.” 
- Phil Morlock, Chair, Government Affairs Committee, Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association

"On behalf of our 100,000 members, supporters and subscribers, and our 725 member clubs across the province, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, congratulates Minister Blaney on the passage of Bill C-42.  The legislation is another example of the Harper government's ongoing commitment to reduce red tape and bring common sense to firearms regulations in Canada."
- Greg Farrant, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

“Quebec hunters are very satisfied with Bill C-42, since it simplifies the licencing procedures for users who comply with the law, while reinforcing the safety and educational aspects that are paramount for the Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs (FédéCP). Furthermore, FédéCP is happy about monitoring and the success of the firearms safety course for first-time weapon holders, thanks to this Bill. It will no longer be possible to challenge the exam for the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) alone. To obtain a hunter’s certificate in Quebec, participants were already required to take the CFSC course. Merging Possession Only Licences and Possession and Acquisition Licences, and introducing a six-month grace period for renewing the latter will enable us to avoid criminal charges for simple administrative errors. FédéCP also agrees with reinforcing the prohibition of firearms for individuals convicted of domestic violence, and admits that the government should invest its efforts in creating social awareness and crime prevention programs. In summary, changes to this Bill are facilitating elements for perpetuating hunting in Quebec, while reinforcing safety, which is paramount for FédéCP.”
- Fédération québécoise des chasseurs et pêcheurs

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association is very pleased that Bill C-42, the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, has become law. From coast to coast, lawful Canadians applaud the Harper government's continued progress towards firearms fairness. 

- Tony Bernardo, Executive Director, CSSA

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Office of Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

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