TheGunBlog.ca — The RCMP, which controls private gun ownership in Canada, said “it has been recommended” to stop teaching the mandatory firearm-safety courses for a gun licence to avoid COVID-19 contagion.
“It has been recommended that the delivery of the Firearms Safety Course(s) be postponed to follow the social distancing protocols in place as directed by our government and health leaders,” Marie-Christine Lemire, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told TheGunBlog.ca by e-mail today in response to questions.
Lemire didn’t specify who did the recommending, or to whom recommendations were directed.
The statement could be the first from a national regulator guiding instructors of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many instructors, instructor organizations, and provincial regulators are unclear about who — if anyone — has or should have the regulatory authority to tell instructors to stop teaching.
Most classes had stopped already as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus behind COVID-19.
Provincial governments have declared emergencies, ordering non-essential businesses to close and telling people to stay home.
Entry to Gun Culture
Gun ownership is at the heart of Canadian culture, heritage and tradition.
The CFSC is the first step to buying, selling or owning any gun.
Once students take the one-day class and pass tests on the law and basic firearm handling, they can apply to the federal police for a firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL).
No Licence? No Guns
All guns are banned for everyone who doesn’t have a permit.
Buying, selling or having any firearm without a licence leads to jail.
No Licence Until 2021?
Even as Canada’s 2.2 million adults with a PAL buy guns and ammo at unprecedented levels, anyone without a permit will probably be shut out of the market until late 2020 or even 2021.
The government said last week to expect physical-distancing measures to last “months.”
Once the restrictions are lifted, under normal conditions it typically takes three or four months to obtain a licence after passing the CFSC and submitting the formal application.
Roughly 3,000 new people a month obtained their licence last year, according to calculations by TheGunBlog.ca based on RCMP data.
Provinces Cancel Classes
Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are among provinces that have completely shut down their CFSC classes to prevent contagion.
They’ve also stopped the follow-up course for handguns and modern sporting rifles like the AR-15, the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course.