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OFAH welcomes common sense approach to firearms licensing

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ---   October 8, 2014  ---  Fall represents one of the most exciting times of the year for the nearly half-million men and women who hunt in Ontario.
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAHUnfortunately, along with experiencing the great outdoors and harvesting healthy wild game for the dinner tables, licensed hunters experience a heavy load of paperwork and red tape as law-abiding firearms owners.

That's why the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) welcomes the introduction of the Common Sense Firearms Act, which Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney tabled in the House of Commons this morning.

The new legislation strikes a balance between the need to remove administrative burdens on legal, law-abiding firearms owners in Canada and the government's intention to protect and enhance public safety.

"The merging of the POL and the PAL streamlines licensing and the proposed grace period means law-abiding firearms owners can renew their licenses without fearing criminal prosecution," said Greg Farrant, OFAH Manager of Government Affairs and Policy. "The OFAH has long supported mandatory firearms training for all first time users, ensuring everyone who applies for a firearms license has gone through a rigorous training and certification process."

The federal government's 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 OFAH has worked with Minister Blaney and his staff, both independently and through the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee, to encourage the government to make these and other common sense changes in the future.

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