June 18, 2022 6:11am
Vern Steffler is the president of the Kincardine Nimrod Club.
He says if there is a freeze on the purchase, sale, importation and transfer of handguns in Canada, that will not allow clubs to maintain memberships.
“Most people don’t realize, but to own a handgun you must legally belong to a gun club. If you go to buy a handgun and do not belong to a gun club, you can’t buy it. You must belong to one because the only place to legally shoot one is at a gun club,” said Steffler.
One of the things people have to do is take a Possession and Acquisition License course, or P.A.L. And there is also an Restricted P.A.L. course.
Steffler says that includes training and a number of background checks.
“That they can check your medical and psychiatric records and you must pass a law enforcement check, they check your background to make sure there are no issues. If you pass all that, it will take you a minimum three weeks to get your P.A.L., as much as a year depending on how much they check and how backlogged they are.”
And even once someone passes all of the measures, just transporting the handgun to and from the gun club requires a number of rules to follow.
“You must have all of your paperwork with it, you must have a lock, a trigger lock or action lock on the handgun. It must be in a case that is locked. All ammunition must be in a case not anywhere near the handgun or restricted weapon. It must be kept in a separate area. So there are all kinds of rules that the public just doesn’t know about how careful we have to be.”
Steffler says there was some realization at the beginning of COVID about how strict Canada’s gun laws are to begin with.
“When COVID started there was a huge demand from people, they were running into gun stores left, right and centre, to buy handguns because they were worried about COVID and what the world would come to. And they were so surprised when they found out the couldn’t buy a handgun and go home with it because they didn’t have a license, it was going to take months if they did, and people do not understand that.”
Steffler says a number of associations , including the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, continue to petition the federal government to make changes to the proposed legislation.