Today is the last day to get 25% off our "One Stop" CFSC and OHEP combined course at Bass Pro Shops in Niagara!
This is a special price for our inaugural course with the Bass Pro Shops location at the Outlet Collection at Niagara, located at the QEW and Glendale Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, in honour of Father's Day - the course runs June 17-19.
You can pay more and sit on a wait list with the other guys, or you can take your course in June at Niagara's finest sporting goods store, and for a better price!
Canadian regulations requiring firearms to be marked in accordance with an international treaty come into effect in exactly one year.
First introduced in 2004 under the Liberal government of former Prime Minister Paul Martin, the regulation known as SOR/2004-275 Firearms Marking Regulations will require that all firearms imported into or made in Canada carry a permanent marking indicating the country and year of import/manufacture.
This would mean that individuals, businesses and public agencies who import firearms into Canada for any reason after June 1, 2017 will have 60 days from the time the firearms are released by customs to etch or engrave a marking such as "CANADA 17" or "CA 17", indicating the country and the last two digits of the year of import.
Also, firearms manufacturers in Canada, such as Colt Canada, Savage Arms, and numerous smaller ones, would need to apply the marking to guns at the time of manufacture.
The regulations had been deferred from implementation several times since they were first introduced, first by the Martin government, and then six times under the Stephen Harper Conservatives. The current Liberal government under Justin Trudeau is not likely to defer the regulation again. During the 2015 federal election, the Liberal party campaigned on a promise to implement the marking regulations immediately.
The regulation stems from a United Nations protocol against the illegal trafficking of firearms. Article 8 of the protocol requires the parties of the protocol to implement firearms marking systems for the purpose of identifying and tracing firearms. In theory, the markings would be added to a firearm anytime it is imported into another country that is a party to the agreement, leaving a traceable record of its previous import history in its markings.
The RCMP recently released the 2015 Commissioner of Firearms report, an annual summary of firearms program statistics and information the police service publishes each year. We break down the key points and what they mean for the Canadian firearms community.
1. Firearms licencing is on the rise
Canada now has over 2 million firearm licence holders. In 2015, about 500,000 "possession only" licences were converted to full "possession and acquisition" type licences, as a result of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act (commonly known as Bill C-42). Nearly 400,000 licences were newly issued or renewed in 2015.
With 2,026,011 licenced individuals in Canada, including over 10,000 licenced minors (aged 12-17), the rate of firearm licencing in Canada is about 1 in 20. While not all licence holders own firearms or participate in shooting sports or hunting regularly, it is interesting to note that this figure is higher than the estimated number of golfers in Canada (1.5 million in 2010), which is generally regarded as the most popular sport played by Canadians (source: StatsCan - PDF).
2. Licence refusals are declining
The report indicates that 688 licence applications were refused in 2015 (about 0.172% of all applications). This figure has declined since 2013, when it was 886 refusals. The vast majority of refusals were as a result of judicial intervention (court prohibition or probation), followed by a reported risk of self-harm.
3. Like refusals, licence revocations are also on the decline
The Commissioner of Firearms report cited 2,347 licence revocations in 2015, also a steady decline from a 2013 high of 2,497. Again, the figure is a fraction of the total 2 million valid licences. The low number of refusals and revocations suggest a healthy law-abiding firearms community in Canada, where the overall compliance rate with current firearms laws remains very positive.
Canada has robust firearms laws, and judicial review is available for refusals and revocations.
4. Declining numbers of firearms businesses and shooting clubs
The total number of licenced businesses and approved shooting ranges has declined from 2014, according to RCMP estimates. With 1,320 estimated shooting ranges in Canada in 2015, the ratio of licence holders to clubs is about 1,535:1, compared to 2014's ratio of 1,413:1. If the trend of more licence-holders and fewer clubs continues, shooting clubs will become busier and possibly more expensive in an attempt to limit range use.
For a list of Ontario clubs and businesses, click here.
5. Restricted and prohibited firearms are rapidly growing in popularity
There have not been any significant changes in the numbers of firearms which are classified at either restricted or prohibited in Canadian law. In fact, some popular models of firearms were removed from the restricted and prohibited lists and placed in the non-restricted list (e.g. CZ858 and Swiss Arms models with a barrel over 470mm in length) as a result of legislation imposed under the previous federal government.
However, the number of restricted and prohibited firearms registered to Canadian licence holders continues to rise significantly, going up each year since 2012. As of 2015, there were 978,347 registered restricted and prohibited firearms legally owned by Canadian licence holders.
Ownership of restricted firearms, such as "AR-15" variant rifles, are growing by leaps and bounds, as more and more people get involved in sports shooting and collecting, and various gunsmiths and businesses specialize in customization of these popular rifles. This popularity led to a petition, E-111, being presented to the House of Commons recently, which is calling for the AR-15 rifle to be reclassified as non-restricted in order to allow its use for hunting, and for wider use as a target shooting rifle.
The venerable Niagara Gun Show which is sponsored by the Sporting Clubs of Niagara takes place four times a year in St. Catharines, Ontario at the Merritton Community Centre.
This past weekend saw the second show of 2016 take place, and as we deliver firearms courses in Niagara, GTAGunSafety.com decided to visit and post a review of this important event for the Niagara firearms community.
A question that is often asked in our CFSC/CRFSC classes is "can I bring a firearm into the US?" The simple answer is: yes, you can!
Canadians who lawfully own firearms may apply for a permit to temporarily import firearms into the US for certain valid purposes. Generally, those purposes are hunting, and to attend a competitive shooting event or gun show. In the recent past, applicants completing the ATF Form 6NIA, the form required for temporary import, would have to provide proof of one of these authorized activities.
The Firearms Safety Education Service of Ontario has announced to certified firearms safety course instructors in the province that the implementation date for the new Canadian Firearms Safety Course program is July 13, 2016.
This means that all courses taught in the province starting on that date must be with the new course and exam material, which the RCMP has released to the instructor community.
Most importantly for those who are looking to take a firearms safety course, there will be no change to our pricing or the length of the course. For most CFSC courses, with 10 students or less, we will be able to deliver the course over 8 hours. For CRFSC courses with 10 or less, the course length stays at 4 hours. Examination time is added, and larger courses are also longer.
There will be significant changes to the student handbooks, and the exam material. For students considering using a friend of family member's student handbook, be aware that the current version will now be out of date and may not be relevant for the new course material.
The RCMP, which is responsible for managing the Canadian Firearms Program, has advised provincial authorities that new course and exam material for the Canadian Firearms Safety Course will be made available on March 31.
In Ontario,the planned implementation date set by the Chief Firearms Officer is July 1st, should the materials be received by the end of March.
The impact for students is that the student handbooks currently published and available, which have already been made out of date by recent changes to firearms laws, may not be suitable for courses scheduled after July 1st.
If you are registered or thinking about registering for a course before July, and are borrowing books from another person or have downloaded the current books from another source, you will not be affected. However, after the new materials are implemented, current books may not contain up-to-date information that corresponds with the course format and materials.
For this reason, when booking for a course scheduled after July 1st, you should be mindful to include books in your registration.
At this time, we do not anticipate any rise in costs for the course or materials, but will make an announcement if this is the case.
If you have received a GTAGunSafety.com gift card, there is a simple way to redeem the gift card amount when registering for our courses online.
Simply select your course and ticket type, and enter your personal information as you normally would. When you proceed to the payment screen, you are shown an itemized summary of your purchase, and below that will be a box marked "Submit Promotion Code". Enter the 16-digit number on the reverse of your GTAGunSafety.com Gift Card, without spaces, in the promotion code box, then click on the Submit button.
If valid, the gift card amount will be applied to your subtotal. Any balance owing can be paid using one of the three payment methods offered (PayPal, Cheque or Invoice).
If there is no balance remaining, select Invoice payment.
When you attend the course, you are asked to bring the the physical Gift Card so that the amount can be redeemed in our payment processing system.
Forgot to use it online?
If you registered and paid online, you can still use your Gift Card. Bring the Gift Card to the course you are attending, it will be swiped through the payment processing system, and you will either receive the amount back by cash or cheque, or you can use it to make purchases at the course - for example, buying Student Handbooks or our branded merchandise.
Silvercore Advanced Training Systems, a Delta, BC-based firearms training academy which delivers firearm safety and hunting courses from locations all over the Lower Mainland, has earned a rare apology from RCMP over an earlier police investigation.
In 2008, RCMP executed search warrants after receiving information from Canadian Firearms Centre personnel. Owner Travis Bader was arrested and police seized multiple firearms, ostensibly as part of a larger anti-gang investigation.
However, according to media reports, two years after the raid one of the officers leading the investigation was himself charged with breach of trust, drug and firearm offenses. The investigation unraveled and, as was clear from the RCMP inspector's letter of apology to Travis Bader last week, there was never any reasonable grounds to support charges against Silvercore or Bader, admitting his arrest was "wrongful."
Crown counsel stayed the criminal charges, and the matter was to proceed to a civil trial last week. However, the government finally reached a confidential settlement with Bader and the firearms training business, part of the terms of which resulted in an almost unheard of written apology.
Silvercore has been in operation since 2003 and provides CFSC, CRFSC, CORE and advanced marksmanship training in BC. Many of its instructors and students are curently serving law enforcement officers.
For people involved in shooting sports who have young families, often a question that crosses their mind is what the best option for a starting rifle for children might be.
Many gun clubs and ranges allow members' children to come and shoot under supervision as guests, and many also offer family membership packages.
But adult-sized rifles are quite often inappropriate for younger people, due to their size and dimensions, the length between the buttstock and the trigger, and the calibre of the firearm. Mom or Dad's .270 Winchester hunting rifle may be too much power, and even too expensive, for junior to learn to shoot with.
Gun manufacturers have a range of suitable options for children to learn to shoot safely (under close and responsible supervision of course).
Our top picks are:
1. Savage Youth Rascal .22lr
U.S. gun maker Savage Arms makes a single-shot bolt action in the popular .22lr cartridge, in a range of colours that appeal to the kids, and that come in at a reasonable price.
It features an easy to use manual safety lever, and a large feed ramp that makes it easy for small fingers to load those small rimfire rounds in. Because it's a single-shot, it makes learning to shoot safe, and worry-free. For storing, the bolt is easily removable, and mosst standard trigger locks will fit just fine.
Like bigger cousins, there are adjustable sights, adjustable triggers, and even sling mounts. The barrel length is a mere 16-1/8", keeping the size and weight reasonable for children.
When they're ready to graduate to a rifle that holds more than a single shot, the Savage Mark II G bolt action rifle is another option.
Again, using the same safe and easy-to-learn-with bolt action as the Rascal, the Mark II adds a magazine that holds up to 10 .22lr rimfire cartridges. And the price is still reasonable - coming in at just $250 with most retailers.