RCMP Corrects Website to Say We Can Buy Guns Without Showing PAL

7 Apr 2018

3 min read
RCMP Corrects Wording on PAL to Buy Guns

Screenshot of corrected sentence on website of RCMP Canadian Firearms Program.

(Check out the Bill C-71 page to see why and how to oppose it.)

TheGunBlog.ca — The RCMP corrected its web page on buying guns to align with Canadian firearm law and a tweet by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: You don’t have to show your Possession and Acquisition Licence to buy a gun.

Trudeau drew a flood of criticism from gun owners last month after saying on Twitter that his proposed law to further restrict hunters and sport shooters will start requiring them to show their PAL to buy a firearm. The measures are part of Bill C-71 to ban more guns and make it harder to acquire and keep them.

Canada Trudeau Tweet Gun Licence

As TheGunBlog.ca reported at the time, Canada’s 2.1 million licensed men and women know that most stores won’t even show you a firearm, let alone sell you one, until you show them your licence.

Although misleading in reality, Trudeau was right in theory.

Have vs. Show

The Firearms Act says that you must have a licence, not that you must show it. Sellers aren’t required to check its validity when you buy so-called “Non-restricted” firearms, which include many rifles and shotguns. They do have to verify for other classes of firearm, such as handguns and AR-15 rifles. (A few more details here.)

TheGunBlog.ca also reported that checking permits for every purchase is so common that even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in charge of enforcing the Firearms Act and the licensing system got the law wrong.

The RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program corrected its web page for buying and selling guns two days ago. It now says that the seller or person transferring a “Non-restricted” firearm “may” verify the licence of the buyer, or transferee. It used to say the seller is “required” to verify.

Corrected Version, Date Stamp 2018-04-05

“The transferor may verify that the transferee has a valid PAL by calling the CFP toll-free number (1-800-731-4000) before making a sale.”

RCMP Corrects Website to Say We Can Buy Guns Without Showing PAL

Old Version, Date Stamp 2018-02-14

“The transferor is nevertheless required to verify that the transferee has a valid PAL. The transferor can call the CFP toll-­free number (1-­800-­731-­4000) to confirm the validity of the transferee's licence before making a sale.”

Canada RCMP Website Selling Guns

You might feel this procedural and linguistic hair splitting is a symptom of overly complex, convoluted and confusing rules that strangle honest people with red tape while doing nothing to prevent crime. You might also feel that Canada’s federal police should be chasing bad guys, not processing paperwork about good guys.

You’d be right about both.

The Firearms Act should be repealed, not poisoned further by Bill C-71.

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