The organization that stamps Canadian Firearms Safety Course exams in Ontario said half the tests passed in July and August weren’t processed because of an office mistake, blocking hundreds of people from applying for their gun licences. (See update below.)
An issue with a contractor means the documents weren’t stamped and returned to individuals, a receptionist at the Firearms Safety Education Service of Ontario (FSESO) said today by telephone, declining to be identified and saying that the FSESO is a very private organization. The FSESO doesn’t know which people or how many people are affected.
The only way for individuals to get their paperwork is to call the FSESO, she said. She’s been going through 200 voicemails per day, she said.
Ontario issued about 10,000 new licences in each of the past two years, according to RCMP data. At that rate, the error could have stopped more than a thousand applications.
“So I actually got a human being on the phone today,” user Whiggly said in the CanadaGuns discussion forum on Reddit.com, where TheGunBlog.ca learned of the botched paperwork. “If you’ve been waiting several months, make sure to call in.”
Canadian law requires a police-issued licence to buy or own guns legally. Anyone wanting a permit must take the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and pass an exam before they can apply, and an FSESO-stamped paper with the test results must be in the application package.
Previously in Ontario, individuals were given the stamped result directly by their instructors after passing the test, and could apply for their licence the same day. (This is how it was for me in 2012.) Under the new procedure, instructors must mail the results sheets to the FSESO, which stamps them and then mails them to students after what the website says can take a month.
Anyone who passed their test in July or August and hasn’t received their results should call the FSESO in Orillia at +1 (705) 329-1899, the receptionist said. People who passed their tests in September should have received their results, she said.
Update on 16 Dec. 2016
The problem is bigger than reported above.
- The mistake damages people’s job prospects, beyond simply stopping potential gun collectors, hunters and target shooters from applying for a licence. According to a reader who asked to remain anonymous, in some cases, more than 20 percent of CFSC/CRFSC classes are comprised of people planning to apply for work at the Canada Border Services Agency. They must send in the course report to show they passed, but they don’t necessarily need a licence. No course report means no job application.
- One person said today on Reddit that they finished their course on Nov. 13, called twice last week, filled out the “Where’s My Paperwork?” form twice, and is still waiting for a response.
- TheGunBlog.ca phoned the FSESO this afternoon for an update on the situation. A recorded message said the voicemail box for reception was full. Other callers report the same thing.