NEWS

Gun owners may face less red tape, new responsibilities under proposed law

07/23/2014 01:05 EDT | Updated 09/22/2014 05:59 EDT
The Canadian government plans to introduce new proposed legislation that would make life easier for many Canadian gun owners.

CBC News has learned the government will unveil plans for new legislation aimed at cutting red tape. However, the common sense firearms licensing act also will include measures intended to show the government takes gun safety seriously.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney will make the announcement at 2 p.m. ET today, at a shooting range in North Bay, Ont.

The government plans to table the proposed legislation in the fall.

Under the proposed law, firearms regulations across the country will be streamlined and standardized.

Currently, gun owners in Ontario, Quebec and P.E.I. have to apply to each province's chief firearms officer when they want to transport a restricted or prohibited weapon. Under the new rules, gun owners in all provinces would get permission to transport weapons as a condition of their licence. 

The government also plans to allow a grace period for gun owners with expired permits.

They would not be allowed to buy new guns or ammunition, but wouldn't be at risk of jail time because of the expired permits. The length of the grace period is still being determined.

The new rules would also give the federal government more say in decisions previously made by each province's chief firearms officer.

Swiss Arm rifle rules may change

The government also wants to make firearms safety courses mandatory for first-time gun owners. 

Gun owners convicted of domestic assault-related crimes would also be at greater risk of losing their guns, as judges would be given more discretion to remove guns in the case of certain offences.

The public safety minister is also striking another blow in his battle with police over the Swiss Arms family of rifles. 

The RCMP previously reclassified the Swiss Arm Classic Green rifle as "prohibited," which essentially banned it. In March, the government said it was troubled by the decision, and gave gun owners permission to keep the weapons, via a two-year amnesty.

Under the new plan, gun owners would also be allowed to use the weapons, in essence restoring them to their previous status.

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