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BC Wildlife Federation

BC Wildlife Federation

Canada – -( Dear Minister Blaney,

On behalf of the more than 43,000 members of the BC Wildlife Federation, I would like to once again thank yourself and the Government of Canada for taking steps to relieve the burden of the unnecessarily onerous firearms laws that effect law-abiding hunters and target shooters.

To repeat what I wrote in my July 25th letter to you, Mr. Minister, BCWF Members are pleased to endorse the “Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.”

While almost all of the proposed changes in the Act are positive steps towards reforming Canada’s costly and useless firearms regulations, one of the proposals is likely to cause serious problems for rural Canadians. Due to the small numbers of qualified PAL instructors in many rural areas, making firearms safety courses mandatory for first time gun owners creates unnecessary difficulty for many young Canadians.

Adding to the problem is the fact that recently, several Chief Provincial Firearms Officers have decided to arbitrarily modify the requirements for instructors of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. While possibly well intentioned, these unnecessary bureaucratic conditions will drastically reduce the number of instructors delivering courses in rural areas.

On behalf of the members of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, I urge you not to eliminate the option to challenge the PAL exam.

I would also like to take this opportunity to correct an error in my July 25th letter. The grace period that BCWF Members are particularly concerned about is the one following the expiry of their PAL. BCWF commends the government for proposing to introduce a grace period after the expiry of a PAL that would allow the holders to renew their gun license. However, on behalf of our members I would urge that the grace period be a minimum of one year, and would preferably be even longer. Indeed, no risk to public safety would exist if PALs were issued for the life of the firearms owners. As an example, this is currently the case in New Zealand. Given that holders of even expired PALs are screened nightly, a failure to renew does not pose a risk to public safety.

Of course, during this grace period bureaucratic restrictions might be imposed upon a holder of an expired PAL in order to motivate him/her to renew: for example, he/she could be prevented from buying or selling a firearm.

In closing, let me thank you again for making these needed changes. The steps announced on July 23rd are thoughtful and judicious, and we look forward to the government making even more positive changes to our firearms laws and regulations in the future.

Yours in conservation,
B.C. Wildlife Federation
George Wilson, BCWF President

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