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New: RCMP-CFP 2022 Online PAL Form

Today, instructors as part of the Canadian Firearms Program received notice that the program has been updated to include an online PAL application form. This form is usable immediately, as long as certain conditions are met:

With the new changes coming into play on the government’s website through the GCKey portal, some patience is warranted. At this time, questions should be directed to your provincial/territorial CFO as the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program is best equipped to answer questions. We all learn about the new forms at the same time, as they are codified and shared with instructors.

RGSL complies with all directives from the CFO, RCMP, and government/support agencies in order to help keep Saskatchewan safe!

RGSL runs Non-Restricted and Restricted gun license safety courses in Regina and Saskatoon, check out the list of upcoming classes here. 

The content on RGSL.CA is not legal advice – please consult a lawyer for legal advice.

RFGL Range Allows FMJ Rounds

A visit to the gun range closest to northwest Regina yielded an important takeaway: You can use your FMJ rounds at Condie, unlike in some previous years.

Regina Fish & Game League (aka Condie Gun Range, they go back to 1954 and have more recently run events like Project Mapleseed 2022 and First Shot clinics) range regulations do not prohibit the use of Full Metal Jacket ammunition any longer.

There are already bins for brass and steel cases located around the range at Condie to help make “brass sorting” easier, but in this instance we’re describing only the bullets rather than other components in the cartridge (primer, case, powder).

After speaking with some of the Range Officers on hand, they confirmed that FMJ ammunition is now welcome at the club. This is great news for students who have been looking for affordable ways to shoot, and offers our students a quick chance to learn about what Full Metal Jacket bullets are, and how/why they are different from more frangible hunting ammunition.

A shooter fires his rifle downrange, ahead of the 2022 hunting season at the RFGL Condie Rifle Range near Regina SK [Sept 25, 2022]

“A full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet is a small-arms projectile consisting of a soft core (often lead) encased in an outer shell (“jacket”) of harder metal, such as gilding metalcupronickel, or, less commonly, a steel alloy. A bullet jacket usually allows higher muzzle velocities than bare lead without depositing significant amounts of metal in the bore.

The bullet was invented in 1882 by Swiss Colonel Eduard Rubin while he was working for the Swiss Federal Ammunition Factory and Research Center.

The use of full metal jacketing in military ammunition came about in part because of the need for improved feeding characteristics in small arms that used internal mechanical manipulation of the cartridge in order to chamber rounds as opposed to externally hand-reloading single-shot firearms. The harder metal used in bullet jackets was less prone to deformation than softer exposed lead, which improved feeding. That also allowed bullets to withstand much higher velocities caused by the decrease of the caliber.

It is sometimes thought that military use of FMJ ammunition was the result of The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibiting the use in international warfare of bullets that easily expand or flatten in the body. However, jacketed bullets were adopted by most European militaries during the late 1880s and early 1890s, about a decade prior to the Hague Convention.

By design, fully jacketed projectiles have less capacity to expand after contact with the target than a hollow-point projectile. While this can be an advantage when engaging targets behind cover, it can also be a disadvantage as an FMJ bullet may pierce completely through a target, leading to less severe wounding, and possibly failing to disable the target. Furthermore, a projectile that goes completely through a target can cause unintentional collateral damage behind the target.”

FMJ bullets represent a major cost savings to shooters, but for many years gun ranges have banned them. Sometimes cited as a source of range fires, they would be far from the only rounds to do so. FMJ rounds have been blamed for range damage when used in inappropriate circumstances; the copper-washed lead cores tend to throw sparks.

When shooting FMJ rounds at hard targets (think steel targets or a rocky area) it is quite possible for rounds to ricochet dangerously in unfortunate and unlucky circumstances, so extra care should be used when selecting appropriate targets.

News of locations where shooters can expend commonly-available ammo (like FMJ-type bullets) comes welcome to Saskatchewan shooters, who have been left with little in the way of choice rounds due to ammunition shortages and cost increases due to inflation. Hunting cartridges often cost dollars per round, and calibers like .300 Winchester Magnum, .243 Winchester, .30-06 have been hard to obtain recently in North America.

RGSL complies with all directives from the CFO, RCMP, and government/support agencies in order to help keep Saskatchewan safe!

RGSL runs Non-Restricted and Restricted gun license safety courses in Regina and Saskatoon. Check RGSL’s list of upcoming courses.

Bill C-21: Handgun Ownership Frozen, Other Regulations Changing

New measures tabled today by the federal government are poised to seriously change the laws and regulations governing firearms. The most significant change appears to be a national freeze placed on the purchase, sale, importation and transfer of handguns in Canada. Other changes include red/yellow flag laws, magazine limits, and some air gun prohibitions – among many other categories.

“In other words, we’re capping the market for handguns. As we see gun violence rise, it is our duty to keep taking action.”

In introducing Bill C-21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and (Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino) explain the federal government’s strengthening of gun control measures across Canada – pivoting away from the a recent federal proposal which would have seen municipalities able to enact their own handgun bans.

As this story of new laws unfolds, the newly-introduced Bill C-21 appears to have been tabled alongside separate Order-in-Council and regulatory measures announced simultaneously. There will be more information later: legislation will need passing, Orders-in-Council will need enacting, and instructors in the Canadian Firearms Program will need to be updated with the new rules as they become clear.

In the meanwhile, the sale/transfer/import/buying of the affected firearms appears unchanged until such time as the new legislation comes into force. It appears the handgun ban portions of the changes are being handled via the Act, rather than by Order-in-Council. This is important because it affects the timing of what appear to be some of the most impactful changes.

PMJT introduces C-21, flanked by key ministers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – flanked by key ministers – introducing new gun control measures on May 30, 2022. The Government of Canada is introducing Bill C-21, and is also using Order-in-Councils for pending new firearms rules this summer.

At this time, questions about pending legislation should be directed to your Member of Parliament, or the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program which is better equipped to answer questions at this time. We all learn about the new rules at the same time, as they are codified and shared with instructors.

RGSL complies with all directives from the CFO, RCMP, and government/support agencies in order to help keep Saskatchewan safe!

RGSL runs Non-Restricted and Restricted gun license safety courses in Regina and Saskatoon, check out the list of upcoming classes here. 

The content on RGSL.CA is not legal advice – please consult a lawyer for legal advice.

FULL CONTENTS: NEW GOVERNMENT OF CANADA RELEASE: BILL C-21, PUBLIC SAFETY CANADA (MAY 30, 2022)

A comprehensive strategy to address gun violence and strengthen gun laws in Canada: BILL C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms)

Bill C-21: An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms) and regulatory amendments, to advance the national ‘freeze’ on handguns, are part of a comprehensive strategy to address gun violence and strengthen gun control in Canada.

Learn about proposed amendments relating to:

  • National “freeze” on handguns
  • New “red and yellow flag” laws and expanded licence revocation
  • Combatting firearms smuggling and trafficking
  • Prohibiting mid-velocity ‘replica’ airguns
  • Coming into Force chart for Bill C-21

National “freeze” on handguns

A national “freeze” on the sale, purchase or transfer of handguns by individuals within Canada, and bringing newly-acquired firearms into Canada.

Individuals could continue to possess and use their registered handguns and could sell or transfer their registered handguns to exempted individuals or businesses.

Businesses

  • Authorized businesses with proper storage (i.e., retailers) could continue to import and sell handguns to other businesses (e.g., gunsmiths, museums, valuable goods carriers), law enforcement, defence personnel and exempted individuals.

Exemptions

  • Anyone who holds an Authorization to Carry handguns as part of their job (e.g., security guard for valuable good carriers) and individuals who have an Authorization to Carry handguns for protection; and,
  • Authorized high-performance sport shooting athletes and coaches.

Action on handguns cannot wait. Regulatory amendments to advance the national ‘freeze’ on handguns have been tabled in both  the House of Commons and the Senate. These regulations will come into force once the Parliamentary tabling requirements under the Firearms Act are complete, expected in Fall 2022.

“Red flag” law, “yellow flag” law and expanded licence revocation

Protecting the safety and security of victims of intimate partner violence and gender-based violence is of paramount importance. Victims need to feel protected and fully supported when they ask for help.

“Red flag” law

The new “red flag” law would:

  • Enable anyone to make an application to a court for an emergency weapons prohibition order (red flag) to immediately remove firearms, for up to 30 days, from:
    • an individual who may pose a danger to themselves or others; and
    • an individual who may be at risk of providing access to firearms to another person who is already subject to a weapons prohibition order.
  • Protect the safety of “red flag” applicants and those known to them, if needed, by giving a judge the option to:
    • close a “red flag” hearing’s proceedings to the public and media;
    • seal the court documents for up to 30 days, or remove any information that could identify the applicant for any period of time that the judge deems necessary, including on a permanent basis.

Individuals who are subject to an emergency weapons prohibition order (red flag) could be required to:

  • surrender their firearm(s) to law enforcement; or
  • have the firearm(s) removed temporarily on an urgent basis through a seizure order from the court.

These emergency weapons prohibition orders would help to address situations where an individual poses a risk to themselves, their family, or to public safety, including perpetrators of intimate partner and gender-based violence, people at risk of suicide, and radicalized individuals.

Limitation on access orders would address situations where an individual subject to a prohibition order could have access to a third-party’s weapon.

New applications for an emergency weapons prohibition order could be made, and the court could set a hearing for a longer-term prohibition order (up to 5 years) if there continues to be reasonable grounds to believe that the individual poses a public safety risk.

A program would be developed to help raise awareness and provide tools to victims and supporting organizations on how to use the “red flag” provisions and protections. It would support vulnerable and marginalized groups including women, Indigenous people and other racialized communities and people with mental health issues, to ensure that the “red flag” law is accessible to all, particularly those who may need it the most.

“Yellow flag” law

Introduce a new “yellow flag” law that would allow:

  • a Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) to temporarily suspend an individual’s licence for up to 30 days when there is a reason to suspect the person is no longer eligible to hold a firearms licence (e.g., suspected of illegally reselling firearms);
  • any member of the public to contact a CFO with information about a licence holder;
  • a CFO to use the 30-day suspension to investigate a claim and revoke a licence if there is evidence to support it.

The licence holder would not be able to use, acquire or import new firearms during the temporary 30-day suspension period but would retain possession of their current firearm(s).

If an investigation determines that the individual continues to be eligible to hold a firearms licence, their use and acquisition privileges would be immediately reinstated.

Expanded licence revocation

Following the coming into force of the legislation, the extended licence revocation authority would help protect those in danger from firearms violence and would permit a Chief Firearms Officers (CFO) to revoke a firearms licence:

  • in cases of domestic violence and/or criminal harassment (e.g., stalking);
  • when a protection order has been issued against a current licence holder;
  • when an emergency weapons prohibition order (red flag) is issued by a judge against a current licence holder.

CFOs would not issue a firearms licence to anyone who at the time they apply is, or has previously been, subject to a protection order related to the safety of any person or an emergency weapons prohibition order (red flag).

In the case of licence revocations related to domestic violence and protection orders, limited exceptions would be available for individuals needing a firearm for sustenance hunting and trapping, or employment.

The Government intends to launch a consultation with Canadians on the proposed expanded licence revocation and “yellow flag” suspension regime prior to the coming into force of these proposals.

Who has authority to revoke a firearms licence in Canada?

Licence revoked by Instrument Reason Appeal Firearms surrender required? In force?
Chief Firearms Officer Firearms Act Protection order (issued by the Court)* No Yes No
Domestic violence/criminal harassment incident Yes Yes No
Judge Court order Emergency weapons prohibition order (red flag) No Yes No
Chief Firearms Officer Firearms Act Following investigation under “yellow flag” law Yes Yes No
Chief Firearms Officer Firearms Act Any reason as outlined under the Firearms Act Yes Yes Yes

Combat firearms smuggling and trafficking

To combat firearms trafficking and smuggling and increase law enforcement capacity to combat firearms violence, the Government is proposing amendments to:

  • increase maximum penalties from 10 to 14 years imprisonment for firearms-related offences, including firearms smuggling and trafficking;
  • authorize wiretaps for two firearms offences;
  • allow sharing of certain firearms registration data with law enforcement across Canada in cases of suspected straw purchasing;
  • make it an offence to alter a cartridge magazine to exceed its lawful capacity and allow for wiretaps for this new offence;
  • make it an offence for businesses to promote violence in firearms marketing and sales;
  • require a person to present a valid firearms licence to import non-prohibited ammunition for firearms (following consultations);
  • improve the ability of the CBSA to manage inadmissibility to Canada when foreign nationals commit regulatory offences upon entry to Canada, including firearm-related offences; and
  • transfer policy responsibility for transborder criminality from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the Minister of Public Safety.

Prohibit mid-velocity ‘replica’ airguns

The Government is proposing to prohibit airguns that:

  • closely resemble a real firearm (replica); and
  • discharge a projectile at a velocity between approximately 366 and 500 feet per second.

These airguns could no longer be imported, exported, transferred or sold. However current owners could continue to possess and use their existing airguns.

Mid-velocity airguns that do not closely resemble a real firearm would be unaffected. The Government intends to work with stakeholders including law enforcement and industry, to ensure the practical implementation of this initiative.

Coming into Force chart for Bill C-21: An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms)

Criminal Code

Provision Coming into Force
Establish “red flag” firearms removal tool, including new anonymity protections Royal Assent
Increase maximum penalties for weapons smuggling/trafficking from 10 to 14 years Royal Assent
Make it an offence to alter a cartridge magazine to exceed legal limits Royal Assent
Add two firearms offences to the list of offences eligible for wiretapping Royal Assent
Prohibit the import/export and transfer of mid-velocity replica airguns to individuals Royal Assent
Authorize security personnel of certain federal entities (e.g. Bank of Canada, Royal Canadian Mint) to use prohibited firearms Royal Assent
Repeal Governor in Council (GiC) ability to downgrade firearms classification (also in Firearms Act) Royal Assent

Firearms Act

Provision Coming into Force
Prevent individuals with an existing or prior restraining order from obtaining a licence, and require the revocation of a licence for individuals who are subject to a restraining order OiC
Require the revocation of a licence for individuals who have been involved in an act of domestic violence or stalking OiC
Establish “yellow flag” licence suspension regime OiC
Require firearm surrender pending legal challenge of licence revocation Royal Assent
Disclose firearms licence information to stop trafficking, e.g. straw purchasing Royal Assent
Require a firearms licence to import ammunition OiC
Make it an offence to promote violence against a person in firearms marketing and sales Royal Assent
Automatically expire registration certificates subsequent to a change in a firearm’s classification Royal Assent
Repeal Governor in Council (GiC) ability to downgrade firearms classification (also in Criminal Code) Royal Assent
Centralize approval of Authorizations to Carry (ATC) handguns in the Commissioner of Firearms OiC
Prohibit all handgun transfers to individuals Royal Assent
Prohibit the issuance of registration certificates and Authorizations to Transport for handguns from any port of entry (with exceptions) Royal Assent
Exempt individuals with an Authorizations to Carry and elite sports shooters from the handgun transfer/import prohibition Royal Assent

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

Provision Coming into Force
Strengthen the transborder Criminal Inadmissibility Framework Royal Assent

Nuclear Safety and Control Act

Provision Coming into Force
Grant limited peace officer status to security personnel at Canada’s nuclear facilities and provide independent review of their actions OiC

Upcoming regulatory amendments for firearms (not part of Bill C-21)

Provision Coming into Force
Update regulations on cartridge magazines OiC
Update firearms markings regulations OiC
Strengthen secure storage regulations OiC
Date modified: 

https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/frrms/c21-en.aspx retrieved on May 31, 2022.

Blood Testing for Lead in Saskatchewan

Today we are taking the opportunity to answer questions about how blood testing is conducted in Saskatchewan for elevated levels of lead. With repeated exposure to ammunition and gunfire, target shooters and hunters might accumulate this toxic metal in their bloodstreams (especially if they fire indoors in a poorly-ventilated area). Lead poisoning has a devastating list of effects listed on Wikipedia: “Exposure to lead can occur by contaminated air, water, dust, food, or consumer products… Lead poisoning is preventable.”

Lead dust exposure happens when a firearm sprays the muzzle (and ejection ports) with lead dust – this happens upon firing. The concern is that if shooters and observers aren’t well-protected that very real health concerns can manifest.

RGSL staff have, in the past, asked Health Canada, who advised that there was no uniform standard for lead exposure at Canada for gun ranges. They do, however, have this guide to reducing a person’s exposure to lead, under their health > healthy living > health and the environment > home and garden safety section. It’s pretty general in nature.

RGSL instructors also asked the Ministry of Environment for Saskatchewan, who did not offer comment on any manner of standards for indoor gun ranges in the province. Ministry officials directed our inquiry to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, who responded pre-pandemic:

“Thanks for your inquiry. Individuals can have blood lead testing done by the Saskatchewan Health Authority at the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory in Regina. The orders would need to come through a SK licensed physician. So, the process would be to see your physician and ask to have this testing performed. 

Generally, air borne lead is only an issue if a lot of time is spent in indoor gun ranges. Monitoring individuals who spend a lot of time in these types of facilities is definitely warranted. Please contact if you require anything further.” [J.E., Clinical Biochemist, Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory, Saskatchewan Health Authority, May 8, 2019]

Firearms using lead ammunition spray lead dust out of the muzzle and ejection port when fired. [NPR, 2017]

Various articles on the subject have captured the public interest. While gun range associations and health authorities don’t appear to be checking for lead proactively in Canada in 2022, there’s plenty of media covering and documenting the various poisonous effects at ranges across the United States – where gun culture is more thoroughly entrenched, and there are multitudes of indoor gun ranges.

The Seattle Times has been covering this story for a long time, and even found that American range workers and police officers have been getting sick from gun ranges’ excessive levels of lead dust.

So the bottom line is to stay careful, and to exert your own personal responsibility to avoid the toxicity. Acknowledge that in the real world, lead concentrations can be hard to quantify, and so take steps on your own to reduce lead exposure to yourself and others. For example: ensuring good ventilation at your range, the use of lead-free bullets, as well as proper hand-washing with abrasive soaps – these are some potential starting points.

🌻Statement on Russian Invasion of Ukraine🌻

Sunflowers – a newly defiant Ukrainian invasion resistance symbol – seen at a pro-Ukraine demonstration in Toronto on Feb 27, 2022. [Chris Helgren, Reuters]

The photos and videos accompanying live reports coming out of Ukraine continue to be heartbreaking. Many Saskatchewan people claim Ukrainian heritage, including RGSL staff and a great deal of our students. Canada already has the world’s largest diaspora of Ukrainians, and they tend to be concentrated on the Prairies. Ordinary people can’t help but be shocked and appalled at the scale of this war, and we want to do our part to help.

Today (March 4, 2022), the Government of Ukraine’s Twitter account pleaded for help: “Dear @ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross], help us establish humanitarian corridors to bring aid and evacuate civilians. We need at least eight of them. Russia lacks military successes, thus unleashes its fury by indiscriminately bombing civilians. Dear @PMaurerICRC, we need those corridors ASAP to save lives.”

🌻RGSL stands with the people of Ukraine, and today has donated our March 2022 profits to help the ICRC humanitarian efforts in the country. Slava Ukraini! Heroyam Slava.🌻

Watching Vladimir Putin address the nation, as invading Russian/Belarusian troops roll into Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022. [AFP]

Ukraine now finds itself fighting an existential war against Vladimir Putin. Resorting to urban guerrilla combat tactics nationwide in order to maintain its status as a liberal democracy, their enemy is the significantly larger invading Russian Federation. Vladimir Putin has called for the destruction of the Ukrainian state in recent speeches, sending thousands of troops (and a lot of equipment) into combat, simultaneously threatening nuclear retaliation on any intervening countries.

RGSL encourages all Canadians who are able to consider donating to various legitimate Ukrainian humanitarian efforts! The Government of Canada has already matched many donations to the Red Cross.