Dec. 5, 2011 - Thoughts on the Firearms Act

The Supreme Court ruled that the federal Firearms Act is valid legislation, and perhaps it is—if we read it for what it really says.

Public safety
5. (1) A person is not eligible to hold a licence if it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of that or any other person, that the person not possess a firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition or prohibited ammunition.

This section applies to a "person" (notice the purported concern for the public in the heading). What is a "person"? This is covered in July 1, 2011 blog, evidently it is different from an "individual" which is the focus for section 7 which follows. Section 5 really only says that they don't want bad people to have a licence.

Successful completion of safety course
7. (1) An individual is eligible to hold a licence only if the individual
         (a) successfully completes the Canadian Firearms Safety Course…

Here an individual is eligible to have a licence if a number of conditions are met. I suppose that if you really wanted to have another licence in your wallet it would be good to know these conditions, but it does not say the individual needs to have a licence.

Registration certificate
13. A person is not eligible to hold a registration certificate for a firearm unless the person holds a licence authorizing the person to possess that kind of firearm.

Again, this pertains to a "person" and eligibility. Nothing here makes a licence a requirement. It's the Criminal Code that dictates the need for a licence to possess a firearm. We'll look there next.

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