Top officials in the Canadian government announced they were easing gun restrictions across the country, citing burdensome licensing requirements and arbitrary rulings by local magistrates banning firearms ownership.
According to Canada’s public safety minister Steven Blaney, the new rules would create one license to both own and purchase firearms, make transporting firearms around an owner’s home province less restrictive and bar provincial chief firearms officers from denying guns from citizens under the “any reasonable condition” clause.
“I am impressed by the way the firearms community and law abiding citizens are abiding by the law,” Blaney told Sun News. “For these people we need to cut red tape. … The firearms community is abiding by the law, and are exemplary citizens.”
The move comes just one month after a suspected gunman went on a shooting rampage in New Brunswick, Canada, killing three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and wounding two others. The incident garnered international attention and forced many residents of the small town of Moncton to stay barricaded in their homes for more than 24 hours.
The new law, dubbed the “Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act” would also add a mandatory training requirement for new gun license applicants, reinforcing what Blaney called “the respect and tradition” of firearms ownership. The act would also toughen restrictions on firearms ownership by those convicted of domestic violence.
Gun control advocates were quick to criticize the conservative Tory government for easing firearms laws, saying more guns would mean more violence.
“Extensive research as well as common sense suggests that making it easier for people to get guns carries with it a huge price,” Wendy Cukier of the Gun Control Coalition told Yahoo News. “Canada is one of the few countries in the world that is moving backwards, weakening its controls on firearms while other countries are strengthening controls to reduce the risk dangerous people will get access to guns.”
The new law also would work to overturn a decision early this year by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that banned the Swiss Arms Classic Green rifle and the CZ-858.
“Any owner [of these firearms] can use them with the amnesty that is now extended to possession and use,” Blaney told Sun News. “Basically we are restoring the conditions that exists before this unfortunate decision was rendered by unelected officials last February.”