“Firearms registration continues to be a political football with the [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper’s government dangling the carrot of abolishing the Firearms Registry if given a majority and the Liberals ranting about public safety and the banning of handgun ownership by lawful citizens.”
This is an example of the e-mails we received generated by our Jan. 19 column on the firearms’ registry.
An equal number of readers wrote supporting the registry, feeling if firearms owners have nothing to hide, they shouldn’t object to registering their “weapons” to allay the safety concerns of non-gun owners.
Others complained about the difficulty in obtaining a firearm in Canada and lambasting the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) firearms-licence process.
One reader scribed he was in California recently, visited several gun stores and was surprised with the state’s firearms restrictions, having assumed a more liberal philosophy would prevail in an American state.
The store owner told the visitor that if he were a resident, he would be finger printed there at the store and his application would be processed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco (ATF) within 28 days. If approved, the purchaser would have to take a firearms safety test with a pass/fail score determined by the clerk.
The store owner was surprised to hear that a Canadian PAL holder could purchase any legal firearm either privately or commercially without further enquiry.
Arizona seems to have what the writer had expected from California, a more lenient firearms ownership philosophy. Last year, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill allowing people to carry a concealed weapon (CW) without a permit. The legislation eliminates a background check or firearms course previously required for the CW.
In 2009, Arizona passed legislation allowing people with concealed-weapons permits to take their guns into restaurants and bars.
In 2009, a man openly carried a semi-automatic rifle to a Phoenix speech presentation by President Barack Obama, much to the consternation of Obama’s secret service detail. Some applauded the carrier, while others were appalled by the ramifications of such an act.
American federal law requires a background check to purchase a firearm, just as in California, but that doesn’t apply if the seller isn’t a firearms dealer.
Wyoming requires no permit to purchase a handgun, no registration and no licensing.
Washington D.C. recently had its handgun ban declared unconstitutional with law enforcement responding with extremely tight permit restrictions.
Hawaii appears to be one of the most restrictive states, as it requires a Permit to Acquire (PA) issued at the discretion of the county police chief. There is a 14-day waiting period for the permit, which is valid for six days (Canada’s PAL is valid for five years).
A separate permit is required for each handgun to be purchased. In addition to passing a criminal background check, all applicants must provide an affidavit of mental health, agree to the release of medical records, be fingerprinted by the FBI, and pass a handgun safety course.
If you receive the PA and purchase a handgun, it must be registered with
the police chief
within five days. Handgun magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds are prohibited.
These restrictions are in addition to the federal process mentioned previously.
Contact the National Firearms Association at www.nfa.ca or the National Rifle Association at www.nra.org for further details on Canadian and American firearms legislation.
Are Canadian firearms laws looking any better? Let us know your thoughts at www.ruralcrime watch.com.