Tony Bernardo, Acting executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association
Credits: Ernest Doroszuk /TORONTO SUN/QMI AGENCY
There's another gun fight starting in Ontario.
The Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) is taking the province's chief firearms office (CFO) to court, alleging provincial policing staff are targeting lawful firearms owners by forcing shooters to have a written invitation from gun ranges before they are allowed to transport their restricted firearms in their own vehicles.
They must also be able to show police the invitation when asked, according to a letter from the CFO to gun owners obtained by QMI Agency.
“Ontario’s firearms owners have a rich history of being lawful and trustworthy,” said Tony Bernardo, spokesman for the CSSA.
“They come from all walks of life and many are professional pillars in their communities. The CFO does not have the mandate to make laws based on their own whim and fancy. This is just one more cheap attempt at frustrating sport shooters to the point they will give up their heritage activities."
Under federal law, handgun owners in Canada already need an Authorization To Transport to move their guns anywhere, usually only by vehicle to and from approved ranges.
This latest stipulation for a written invitation was added by the CFO and mailed to gun owners this past week, says the CSSA.
"To all approved restricted shooting ranges in Ontario as a member of good standing of that club or as an invitee of an authorized member of the host club. When transporting firearms by invitation written proof of an invitation by an authorized club member must be provided to the CFO or police upon request,” it reads.
Julie Carmichael, spokeswoman for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, declined comment as the matter may soon be before the courts.
"The Firearms Act sets out the requirements with respect to the safe storage and transportation of firearms. We expect that chief firearms officers and their officials will enforce the law appropriately,” she said, adding chief firearms officers are provincial appointees.
Last year, owners of rifles and shot guns were surprised to learn that gun shop owners had been ordered by Ontario's CFO to continue writing down the personal information of all customers who bought long guns, even though the federal registry had been abolished.
The feds eventually had to rewrite the rule, ordering the provincial CFOs to stop issuing the requirement.
The provincial CFO was not available for comment.