Changes to the Firearms Act

On June 18, the Royal Assent of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act amended the Canadian Firearms Act and Criminal Code.

  • Jul. 6, 2015 3:00 p.m.


Arrow Lakes News

On June 18, the Royal Assent of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act amended the Canadian Firearms Act and Criminal Code effectively imposing significant changes with Bill C-42. Highlights of these changes include the immediate requirement for first-time firearm license applicants to complete the firearms safety course, the gradual elimination of all Possession only Licenses (POL), and the conversion of all existing valid POL’s to Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PAL) within the next few months.

Possession Only and Possession and Acquisition licenses were brought about in 1994 and were intended to be eventually phased-out in favor of a single licensing system. The creation of two separate licenses was deemed necessary at the time of implementation to accommodate those Canadians who have guns in the house but do not engage with them for sport or recreation. These guns were often heirlooms that were either inherited or collected by aficionados.

Under the terms of Bill C-42 those who have current, updated POL licenses will soon find themselves upgraded to PAL once the official conversion date has been set by an order in council. This conversion will take place without the completion of the firearm safety course.

Dorian Boswell, a local certified firearm safety instructor, was instrumental in the design of the safety course and says Bill C-42 poses significant changes to the licensing process.

“The system has changed a lot over the years, but there hasn’t been anything this significant. The original POL was kind of a band-aid on long-arm registration and was intended to be transitioned so that everyone would eventually be on PALs, and now, 20 years later, they are finally making it happen,” Boswell said.

Boswell has been teaching the firearms safety course around the Kootenays for many years and views it as a service to the local community. However, with the new requirement of mandatory course participation by new license applicants, he is concerned about the logistics of course delivery in communities that do not have local certified instructors.

“I have the resources to provide this service, so I should be doing it, I feel obligated to do it because I am part of this community,” Boswell said, “but now that the course is mandatory and people are no longer allowed  to challenge the test, its going to be hard for the government because they will need instructors in every community to deliver the course.”

The RCMP has more information about the amendments and can be accessed through their website at


Just Posted

Judgment reserved in Nakusp school sex trial

Trial concluded today with lawyer’s summations

Former teacher acquitted on two of four sex charges

Judge found no evidence to support sexual assault charges against Shanny McIvor

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Smiles all around as province announces emergency ward funding

$2.1 million to go to much-needed upgrades

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Most Read