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Firearms & Recreational Shooting Sports Committee

Introducting the BCWF Firearms and Recreational Shooting Sports Committee

The BC Wildlife Federation is pleased to announce a significant expansion of the BCWF Firearms Committee that will incorporate a much larger focus on recreational shooting sports. The new committee will be known as the BCWF Firearms and Recreational Shooting Sports Committee, and the new format will offer BCWF Clubs that are shooting-orientated or have active ranges an opportunity to appoint a representative to the committee and make their voice heard.

The mandate of the new committee is to develop policy to help BCWF Clubs better respond to municipal and provincial regulations that are affecting their facilities. The Firearms and Recreational Shooting Sports Committee offers an opportunity to BCWF Clubs that have active ranges to participate in finding solutions to common problems facing shooting clubs with ranges, including environmental legislation, municipal noise bylaws, and other common challenges.

This expansion will also help facilitate development of policy recommendations to municipal and provincial governments to proactively deal with some of the challenges facing clubs with active ranges. Traditionally, the mandate of the Firearms Committee has been federal firearms laws; the newly expanded committee will be proactive and able to tackle many of the issues shooting clubs and gun ranges encounter when dealing with government on a local and provincial level.

The members of the new committee will develop an initial Terms of Reference. BCWF anticipates that in time, the Firearms and Recreational Shooting Sports Committee will create a new and separate committee – the Shooting Range Committee – that will focus exclusively on helping BCWF Clubs manage the issues impacting them.

BCWF is still energetically looking for additional members to join the committee, and welcome all BCWF Clubs with an active group of shooters and a range to appoint a representative of their own.

If your club is interested in being a part of the BCWF Firearms and Recreational Shooting Sports Committee, please contact the BCWF office at 604-882-9988 (ext. 221) / 1-888-881-2293 (ext. 224) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, contact BCWF Firearms Committee Chair Gary Mauser at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


RECREATIONAL SPORTS SHOOTING COMMITTEE CHAIR:

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On June 1st, 2017 the “Marking of Imported Firearms (Bill C-10A) Regulations” will come into effect to implement the UN Firearm Marking protocol. 

The regulations, as currently drafted, will have a negative impact on Canadians who rely on hunting to feed their families and sports shooters, by significantly increasing the cost of firearms and reducing choice. It is also likely that it will have a disastrous impact on the Canadian firearms industry and result in the loss of jobs. It could also hurt trading relationships with other countries.

The BC Wildlife Federation has written several letters (see below) to the Minister of Public Safety expressing our concerns regarding the regulation as drafted, and supporting the solution proposed by the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA).

It is now time for all Members to get directly involved by writing to the Minister of Public Safety, with a carbon copy to your local Member of Parliament, requesting that the regulation be amended.

Please download the draft letter below for you to use.  Simply add your name and address to the top, a cc to your local MP at the bottom, print and mail (note, postage is not required to mail to MPs).

Please send a physical letter as they have more impact than emails or petitions.

Download the draft letter here.


March 13, 2017: Letter to Hon. Ralph Goodale

 

Proposed Change to Firearms Marking Regulations


Lead Management

Standards and Best Practices for Lead Management 
Noise Management
Issues Management

Committee Reports:

FIREARMS COMMITTEE CHAIR:

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December 1st, 2014

B.C. Wildlife Federation Supports Bill C-42, the Government of Canada’s New “Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act”

The B.C. Wildlife Federation is pleased that the Government of Canada has placed C-42, the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, before Parliament for approval. This legislation is an important step in reducing the burden of excessive regulations for Canada’s hunting and target shooting communities.

The BCWF is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization whose 45,000 members are passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act will:

  • Merge the Possession Only License (POL) and the Possession and Acquisition License (PAL);
  • Restrict the ability of Chief Firearms Officers to make arbitrary decisions;
  • Create a grace period at the end of the five-year license to stop people from immediately becoming criminalized for paperwork errors;
  • End needless paperwork around Authorizations to Transport by making them a condition of a license;
  • Require mandatory firearms safety courses for first-time gun owners; and
  • Strengthen firearms prohibitions for those who are convicted of domestic violence offences.

“The federal government should be commended for continuing to honour its promise to make sensible changes to Canada’s firearm legislation,” said BCWF President George Wilson. “Merging the POL and PAL licenses makes sense because POL holders have held their license for many years and have demonstrated they are responsible citizens.”  

Gary Mauser, Chair of the BCWF Firearms Committee, is confident the legislation will be very popular among BCWF Members: “The grace period will be particularly appreciated by our members. Currently, if an individual doesn’t renew his or her firearms license, he or she is committing a criminal act that can be subject to severe penalties. The current law is excessive.”

“Perhaps the most important feature of this legislation is that the government is reining in Chief Firearms Officers. For the first time, the CFO’s will be placed under adequate management,” Mauser added. “Unsurprisingly, the current laws have spurred the creation of a huge and wasteful bureaucracy and the government has taken a needed step to bring it under control.”


October 7th: Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Jon Baird
RE: BCWF Opposed to International Ban on Lead Ammunition

The Honourable John Baird, PC, MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6    

Dear Minister Baird:

I am writing to you on behalf of the 43,000 members of the BCWF to express our deep concerns regarding the upcoming attempt to ban lead ammunition at the 11th Conference of Parties (CoP 11) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) to be held in Quito, Ecuador, this coming November. 

The BCWF is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization and is passionately committed to conserving, enhancing, and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

The proposed guidelines at CoP11 call for a complete phase-out of the use of lead ammunition over the next three years.  The scientific evidence does not justify the proposed ban, which would have serious adverse consequences for both for wildlife conservation and civilian sport shooters in Canada.

BCWF’s concerns are threefold:

1.  The scientific evidence does not support the ban;

2.  The alternatives have not been adequately studied, and;

3.  Banning sporting uses of lead would adversely affect jobs and the economy.

First, the scientific justification for banning lead ammunition is flawed.

The available research does not support the claims made by the advocates of this ban. Proponents of the ban on all lead ammunition are relying on public ignorance of the differences between relatively inert elemental (metallic) lead used in ammunition, and toxic organo-lead compounds which have been previously used in paint and gasoline.

In addition, the ban also ignores the fundamentals of modern science-based wildlife management. For nearly 100 years, wildlife has been successfully managed across North America under the concepts first championed by the famous conservationist Aldo Leopold. A key part of this successful model is managing wildlife populations so that they are in balance with the ecosystem. Close examination of the research provided in support of the ban of traditional lead ammunition shows that only very small numbers of animals within particular species are affected. No scientific evidence has found a significant impact of lead ammunition on any species.

While some problems do exist, they may be addressed more effectively through other means. Claims of harm to humans eating meat from animals killed with lead ammunition are similarly unsubstantiated by any valid study. The scientific research being relied upon to support the ban, while suggestive, is contradicted by long-term studies such as the one completed by the State of Iowa that showed no such link. To the extent lead contamination does pose a human health problem, it may be dealt with through educational efforts by responsible organizations.

Banning lead in ammunition would also lead to significant cost increases for hunters. Since hunters play an indispensible role in wildlife conservation, any scheme that has the potential to reduce the number of men and women who can afford to hunt, such as banning lead ammunition, would have a deleterious impact on wildlife populations themselves.

Second, the alternatives to lead ammunition have not been studied.

If lead ammunition is banned, sport shooters and the military will move to substitutes. Unfortunately, the toxicity of the prime alternatives to lead ammunition has not been adequately researched, and there are only a small number of elements that have the ballistic properties required. With the possible exception of gold, all of these elements have potential toxicity issues that need to be studied to ensure they are, in fact, superior to traditional lead ammunition. The experience of the US Department of Defense (DoD) provides a telling example. In an attempt to be more “environmentally friendly,” the US DoD attempted to switch from a traditional lead-based bullet to a tungsten-based bullet.  Subsequent testing proved that the new bullet had a 100% cancer rate when implanted in the muscle of rats. The DoD quickly stopped production of the tungsten bullet and returned to traditional ammunition. 

At the very least, banning lead is premature. Alternative materials would need to be properly studied to make sure they offer a level of performance and meet safety and environmental requirements equivalent to traditional lead ammunition.

Third, banning lead ammunition would adversely affect jobs and the economy.

The raw materials required for non-traditional ammunition are significantly more expensive than lead (copper, for example, is approximately four times more expensive per kilogram than lead). Alternatives to traditional lead ammunition require more energy consumption to manufacture, and are more expensive for the purchaser. 

In 2013, the BC Resident Hunter Survey found that the economic contribution of resident-hunting in the province is more than $230 million per year, which translates into $2,900 per hunter. Needless to say, hunting is a major source of income for both rural and developing communities.  Lead ammunition bans—such as the US ban of traditional lead ammunition for waterfowl hunting—have been found to reduce the numbers of hunters by approximately 15%. This lost revenue and lost jobs will have an impact throughout the economy, but will have a disproportionate impact on areas that rely on the economic activity generated by hunters. 

In addition to the negative economic impact of a ban on traditional lead ammunition to the civilian marketplace, law enforcement and military expenditures will increase significantly. Costs for ammunition will rise sharply, and the costs of cleaning up lead in the environment at government facilities would be astronomical. 

For additional information to bolster our opposition to banning lead in sporting uses, I urge you or your office to contact the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) in the United States, as they are the premier organization responsible for creating safety standards for manufacturers of ammunition and firearms.

These are just a few arguments for why a ban on traditional lead ammunition is unwarranted and may even create more problems than it solves. This is a complex issue that requires careful scientific analysis and it is clear that this has not taken place. The B.C. Wildlife Federation is dedicated to conservation and the welfare of wildlife species and their habitats, and our organization believes in the principles of science-based wildlife management. These principles have resulted in significant increases in the health and well-being of wild animals and their habitats around the world. The proposed ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition is not supported by these successful principles. 

Government representatives from Canada will be debating this proposed ban at the CMS CoP 11). Please urge them to vote “no” to the well-intentioned but misguided proposal. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and thank you in advance for your support of science-based wildlife management.

Regards,

George Wilson
President, B.C. Wildlife Federation


August 23, 2014: Letter to Minister Steven Blaney
RE: Proposed Changes to Canada's Firearms Laws

23 August, 2014

The Hon. Steven Blaney, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Minister's Office
269 Laurier Avenue West - 13th floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0P8

Dear Minister Blaney,

On behalf of the more than 43,000 members of the BC Wildlife Federation, I would like to once again thank yourself and the Government of Canada for taking steps to relieve the burden of the unnecessarily onerous firearms laws that effect law-abiding hunters and target shooters. To repeat what I wrote in my July 25th letter to you, Mr. Minister, BCWF Members are pleased to endorse the “Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.”

While almost all of the proposed changes in the Act are positive steps towards reforming Canada’s costly and useless firearms regulations, one of the proposals is likely to cause serious problems for rural Canadians. Due to the small numbers of qualified PAL instructors in many rural areas, making firearms safety courses mandatory for first time gun owners creates unnecessary difficulty for many young Canadians.

Adding to the problem is the fact that recently, several Chief Provincial Firearms Officers have decided to arbitrarily modify the requirements for instructors of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course. While possibly well intentioned, these unnecessary bureaucratic conditions will drastically reduce the number of instructors delivering courses in rural areas.

On behalf of the members of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, I urge you not to eliminate the option to challenge the PAL exam.

I would also like to take this opportunity to correct an error in my July 25th letter. The grace period that BCWF Members are particularly concerned about is the one following the expiry of their PAL. BCWF commends the government for proposing to introduce a grace period after the expiry of a PAL that would allow the holders to renew their gun license. However, on behalf of our members I would urge that the grace period be a minimum of one year, and would preferably be even longer. Indeed, no risk to public safety would exist if PALs were issued for the life of the firearms owners. As an example, this is currently the case in New Zealand. Given that holders of even expired PALs are screened nightly, a failure to renew does not pose a risk to public safety.

Of course, during this grace period bureaucratic restrictions might be imposed upon a holder of an expired PAL in order to motivate him/her to renew: for example, he/she could be prevented from buying or selling a firearm.

In closing, let me thank you again for making these needed changes. The steps announced on July 23rd are thoughtful and judicious, and we look forward to the government making even more positive changes to our firearms laws and regulations in the future.

Yours in conservation,

B.C. Wildlife Federation
George Wilson, BCWF President


July 25th, 2014: Letter to Minister Steven Blaney
RE: Proposed Changes to Canada's Firearms Laws

July 25th, 2014

The Hon. Steven Blaney, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Minister's Office
269 Laurier Avenue West - 13th floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8

Dear Minister Blaney,

On behalf of the more than 43,000 Members of the BC Wildlife Federation, I would like to thank you and the Government of Canada for taking steps to relieve the burden of the unnecessarily onerous firearms laws that effect law-abiding hunters and target shooters. The proposed “Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act” is a much needed step towards reforming Canada’s costly and useless firearms regulations.

The BCWF is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.

BCWF Members are pleased to endorse the “Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act.” A few of the initiatives are particularly helpful, specifically, introducing a grace period for renewing gun licenses, limiting the powers of provincial Chief Firearms Officers, upgrading possession only licenses (POL) to the status of possession-and-acquisition (PAL) licenses, and making it easier for lawful gun owners to transport restricted firearms to and from the range.

Our members also appreciate your efforts to remedy the problems caused by the RCMP’s arbitrary decision to reclassify the Swiss Arms and CZ 858 rifles. While not a complete reversal, your actions are welcome nonetheless.

We understand that the length of the grace period for Swiss Arms and CZ 858 rifles has yet to be determined. Our members would urge that the grace period be a year or longer, as a period of just a few months seems unnecessarily brief. Given that holders of even expired PALs are screened nightly, a failure to renew does not pose a safety hazard. A longer period would also allow PAL holders to return from winter holidays (such as “snow birds”) or from working abroad without being shocked by having inadvertently broken the law.

On behalf of the BCWF Membership, I strongly urge you to make further changes to Canada’s firearms laws, such as removing PALs from CPIC. This practice unnecessarily confuses law-abiding firearms owners with dangerous criminals. Conflating licensees with dangerous criminals not only endangers police officers, but also exposes law-abiding hunters and target shooters to unwarranted mistreatment. Research shows that only 7% of firearms homicides involve offenders with PALs, which means that PAL holders are even less likely than other Canadians to commit violent crimes.

Our members also do not understand why the government has not yet repudiated the UN marking and tracing regulations despite the fact that these regulations have been postponed for 11 years.

In closing, let me thank you again for making these needed changes. The changes announced on July 23rd are thoughtful and judicious. We look forward to the government making even more changes to our firearms laws and regulations in the future.

Yours in conservation,

George Wilson
President, B.C. Wildlife Federation


Committee Reports:

2016 Q3 Firearms Committee Report

2015 Year End Firearms Committee Report


Update - March 15th, 2013

Opinion - Editorial: Why is it OK for the Federal Government to Collect a "Traveller's Tax" from U.S. Tourists?


Update - March 8th, 2013


Member Alert (July 2012)
The long-gun registry bites the dust (February 2012)
President's letter to PM Harper on licensing (January 2012)
Gary Mauser's presentation on Bill C-19 (November 2011)
Gary Mauser's brief on Bill C-19 (November 2011)
Gary Mauser's brief on Bill C-391 (November 2011)
Is the UN your friend? The Arms Trade Treaty is coming (November 2011)
Lorne Gunter on the registry (November 2011)

Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper re: Long Gun Registry (September 2011)
Congratulating the Prime Minister on his historic victory (May 2011)
Click here for Federal Party positions on gun control. (April 2011)
AGM Firearms Committee Report (April 2011)
Click here to see Outdoor Network's request for the release of firearms studies. (19 April 2011)

(October 2010)
Following  are three important briefings from the Canadian Shooting Sport Association on issues related to police checks and/ or entry on premises relating to firearms issues. Click on the links to download a pdf file.

(August 2010)

Comments on the long-gun registry by Dr. Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science

(June 2010)
17 False Claims About the Effectiveness of the Gun Registry (2010)
Bill C-391- Countering Ten Misleading Claims (March 2010)
Call to Action (March 2010)
How Your Local MP Voted on C-391 (March 2010)
Summary of Handloading of Ammunition Regulations (January 2010)
Handloading of Ammunition Regulations: Replies to Questions (2009)
BC Wildlife Federation Thanks Public Service Minister (September 2009)
An Open Letter from BCWF to Members of Parliament (September 2009)

Canadian Firearms Legislations

Articles and Papers on Gun Control
Opposition MP's Who the Outdoor Network Feel May Be Influenced (2009)
NDP Release: Rafferty and Hyer to Support Long Gun Registry Bill (May 2009)
Hoeppner Introduces Private Members Bill to End Long Gun Registry (May 2009)
An Appeal from Mike Fowler RE: C-391 Long Gun Registry Bill (2009)

Letters to Government on Firearms-Related Issues
Reply Letter from Stephen Harper from March 24 RE: Bill C-301 (April 2009)
Letter to Mr. Bolten from John van Dongen (April 2009)
Letter to Mel Arnold from J Crowder RE: C-301 (March 2009)
Letter from Peter Van Loan to Mel Arnold and Mike Fowler in Response to their Letter (January 2009)
Response to Mel Arnold and Mike Fowler from M. Bourque on Behalf of Stephen Harper (January 2009)