- Posted February 7, 2013 by
Vancouver, British Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
- Christopher Dorner Victim of PTSD
- Christopher Dorner victim of PTSD
- For the attention of Piers Morgan: three reasons why conservatives oppose gun control
- The top 8 reasons why Americans "Need" the AR-15
- Proposed magazine limits have already failed. Read how manufacturers have gotten around this legislation since the 1930's.
Tony Bennett comments on the differences with Canadian and US gun cultures.
On Wolf Blitzers show on Feb 6 Tony Bennett commented on the differences between US and Canadian firearm laws and gun culture. I'll expand on the differences.
Canada has been around as long as the US, firearms are just as much rooted in our culture as the US. Only the USA has a second amendment!
On average, 7 out of 11 Canadian households have firearms. In rural areas, ownership of a gun is 99.999 percent, less in urban cities. urban cities when crime with a firearm happens, it is almost always gang related.
In the last decade, the government instigated a registration program, to replace the past registration program attempts. It did not work completely work. It costs 2 billion dollars a year and despite the reimbursement plan on paper, the program went bankrupt. Unofficial estimates are half of gun owners did not register their guns. One person even registered a Remington hair dryer as a firearm to show the loopholes in the program.
Firearms ownership (like car ownership) is considered a privilege and requires a license. Anytime there has been repeated loss of life in any activity, the government steps in to put regulations in place, and that usually requires a license and training program to do that activity.
There are 2 types of licenses.
1) "PAL" - Possession and Acquisition license. You can own and continue to acquire new guns.
A "PAL" is divided into three separate licenses.
a)Non Restricted - long guns, barrels over 18.5" and overall length more than 26".
b) Restricted - Barrels length over 4.25" to 18.5"
c) Prohibited - Any barrel less than 4.25" or the gun shoots full automatic, or other specific reason. (only police, or military can own Prohibited guns.)
2) "POL" - Possession only license. You currently have guns at the time of the registration program but will not acquire any more.
Licenses expire every 5 years on your birthday. License renewal is a simple form, license acquisition requires you buy the firearm instructional books and preferably take a firearms course taught by a licensed firearms instructor. You can just take the test, but generally you will miss a lot.
The training is like this; Some people learn to drive from a driving school, and some learn to drive from their parents. Those who go to school will learn properly, while those that learn from their parents will only learn what the parent wants them to know. The same applies to firearms or any licensed activity. Guns can be willed to licensed individuals, but only if they have the appropriate license. Otherwise they have to be sold off or are taken by the police.
The firearms centre is run by the police. A requirement of getting any license is two acquaintances have to vouch for you, that you are not a violent person, or undergoing any stressful situations where you would use a gun in violence, those type of questions. They also do other background checks there.
The general public now can only own firearms that shoot one bullet with one pull of the trigger. There are changes in magazine restrictions now. Generally, semi automatic firearms are limited to 5 round magazines, but since the Rock River LAR 10 round magazine have been introduced, any gun that can hold that magazine can shoot all 10 rounds. Handguns can only shoot 10 rounds or less.
Hunting regulations in Canada are based around a quote by Daniel Boone, that "The game must have a fair chance of escape" Hunting capacity is two in the magazine, and one in the chamber. A hunting license is an additional license, but its purpose is the same as a hunters safety number in the US.
As firearm licenses are regulated, there is only two legal reasons to own firearms in Canada. Hunting or target shooting. Self defence is not a valid reason. Only a land surveyor in the bush can legally defend himself with a hand gun, but it can only be a 44 magnum. That gun and round was purposely intended to stop a bear. Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of former British Empire countries are not allowed to defend themselves. That is the job of the police. However since Canada separated from UK control in 1986, it now has its own Constitution and Human Rights Act. The two are in definite conflict, but it has not been challenged in court yet. Even in cases of violent home invasion, its a grey area up to the judge and jury to decide.
Due to the non gun ownership public and police pressure, this registration program was going to be cancelled, but has only been cut back, as of this year only Restricted and Prohibited firearms still have to be registered. Non restricted guns do not. Studies showed no real crimes were committed with a Non Restricted firearms.
The government has tried to ban certain guns in the past, like the AR-15 but it failed because the national shooting team used that gun. The US has the same issue that the national shooting teams also uses this gun, as well as the civilian shooters at the Camp Pendleton matches.
Non Restricted firearms can be used for hunting or target practice purposes. During travel in urban areas, the gun needs to be out of sight preferably locked up in the trunk. The owner must make some effort to disguise the gun in cases where it can't be hidden. In rural areas, out in the bush, its in the back window of the pickup truck.
Restricted firearms can only be used for target practise at an approved range, and can not be carried while hunting. Regulations used to be that an Authorization To Transport (ATT) form is required whenever you take the gun from your house to the range, or gunsmith. This has loosened from every trip to being filled out once every 5 years, and is good until you renew your license.
Military guns (full auto) can be modified by the factory so the receivers will only accept semi auto trigger parts and sold in Canada as Restricted or Non restricted guns. In the US, the policy is once a machine gun, always a machine gun. Certain military guns were never designed to be semi automatic or select fire, so those remain Prohibited. The receiver must be made or modifiable so that the gun will never shoot full auto, or shoot with any full auto parts installed.
The AK-47 and all variants are prohibited, but the AR-15 receiver can not be converted to hold M16 parts without machining. No crime has ever been committed with an AR-15 converted to an M16. The FBI has confirmed this several times on national TV.
Guns have to be locked up in a safe, with the ammunition locked in a separate location. This is not to prevent theft in case of break-ins, but as an added step in cases of suicides. Canada has one of the highest taxation rates in the world, and this has been linked to the suicide rate.
Any theft of guns must be reported to police ASAP. All sales of Restricted or Prohibited guns must have a firearms license and gun serial numbers on the paperwork, as well as who the owners are and were. Non Restricted firearms now do not.
When you take the firearms courses from a certified instructor, you get additional information on how to be a good citizen and not a rebel in the bush. These details have been agreed upon by the firearms community and the government when making the regulations. There are those in the general public that don't like guns, and those in the firearms community are suppose to keep it a secret that they have guns.
Citizens are not allowed to open or conceal carry guns. When you carry any kind of firearm between your house and your destination, the guns must be in a locked case so that no one recognizes you are carrying a gun. Out of sight, out of mind is the policy.
You are not suppose to talk about your guns openly to others. A big verbal no-no is calling a gun a "Weapon". When you take your firearms test, with some instructors if you call the gun a weapon three times, your out! This is firm because the general public is not allowed to have weapons, or use weapons on another. See comments for rest.