Huntsville, Ontario, Plans Firearm By-Law; OFAH’s McRae Responds — The town council of Huntsville, Ontario, is preparing a by-law to restrict gun users beyond what’s in federal and provincial prohibitions.

Brian McRae, who oversees municipal hunting and fishing issues for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, comments below. The OFAH is one of Canada’s biggest associations of firearm users.


The town of 20,000 people about 230 km north of Toronto said yesterday on the municipal website that it seeks feedback on the draft firearm-discharge by-law by Sept 4.

A committee will then review comments, and submit any amendments to town council on Sept. 30 for a vote.

The proposed by-law, while allowing shooting for protection, hunting and sport:

  • Defines “firearms” as weapons
  • Prohibits firearm discharge within 100 metres of the area’s main lakes (e.g., Lake of Bays, Fairy Lake, Lake Vernon, Peninsula Lake)
  • Prohibits shotgun hunting or sport shooting except from a half-hour after sunrise to a half-hour before sunset, with a property-size restriction. (Provincial regulations allow hunting from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.)

Why It Matters

  • Municipalities have powers to restrict firearm users and businesses, and often invent new rules without knowing existing laws.
  • Canada’s governing Liberal Party is preparing municipal handgun confiscations, in addition to the current national rifle and shotgun confiscations.
  • Firearm users improve policy by sharing our expertise and concerns, and electing politicians who respect our rights.

Huntsville Links

By-Law Flowchart, Current Status

By-Law flowchart on Huntsville website

Three Questions to OFAH’s Brian McRae

OFAH, Senior Advisor, Community & Partner Relations

What do you think of the Huntsville by-law against firearm discharge in city limits?
I feel that the draft by-law is unwarranted and unnecessarily restricts legal hunting, trapping and/or recreational shooting opportunities, especially when there have been no accidents or incidents (based on the information that was told to me).

Huntsville is a major hub for hunting and the outdoors in south-central Ontario. Does that make this by-law more significant or symbolic?
Any municipality is equally important to the people in that area, both who live there, and/or recreate there.

I don’t think Huntsville is any different than any other municipality in that sense.

What do you advise concerned residents to do?
Ultimately, we need residents to submit their comments in writing or in person at the meeting (if possible – due to Covid-19, it sounds as though the meeting will be virtual), otherwise their voices won’t be heard.

You should also contact your local councillor.

Read: McRae’s July 15 Letter to Huntsville, Via OFAH Website