Firearms enthusiasts across the nation cheered last Thursday when the contentious long gun registry was officially scrapped via Conservative government bill C-19.
The news was welcomed by local gun owners, who have long complained that the registry’s intended goal, to increase public safety, was never reached, and that criminals wouldn’t register their firearms which makes the listing ineffective in tracing weapons involved in crimes.
“None of our members were in favour of the registry,” said Mission Rod and Gun Club’s Ron Tarnawski. “They didn’t like the rationale and the reasoning. The money could have been better spent in other areas.”
The local club currently has about 2,200 members, and there has been a surge in membership in recent years. Tarnawski said it’s assumed by many members of the public that the club is filled only with hunters; that isn’t the case.
There are hundreds of members who simply enjoy target shooting, and a segment are involved in more specialty sports such as cowboy action. This sport sees participants using antique firearms, competing in accuracy and speed at hitting targets at various stages.
Mission RCMP Insp. Richard Konarski said even if long guns will no longer appear on the police-accessible Canada Firearms Registry Online (CFRO), Mounties would never assume a gun isn’t in the home just because there’s no record of one.
Operationally, Konarski said the defeat of this legislation has not changed how RCMP members approach certain calls.
Gun licences will still be required to purchase, possess and use a long gun, and the registry for restricted and prohibited firearms will stay in place. Purchasing ammunition also requires a Possession and Acquisition Licence.
There are three classes of firearms: non-restricted, restricted and prohibited.
Non-restricted firearms are ordinary rifles and shotguns, other than those referred to below.
Restricted firearms include:
• handguns that are not prohibited;
• semi-automatic, centre-fire rifles and shotguns with a barrel shorter than 470 mm;
• rifles and shotguns that can be fired when their overall length has been reduced by folding, telescoping or other means to less than 660 mm; and
• firearms restricted by Criminal Code Regulations.