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OFAH Applauds Federal Government's Common Sense Approach to Firearms Licensing

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/23/14 -- The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) applauds the federal government's plan to amend the Firearms Act and Criminal Code of Canada to reduce the administrative burden on legal, law-abiding firearms owners.

The intended amendments, announced Wednesday by the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, would streamline licensing and eliminate needless red tape for law-abiding firearms owners.

"Quite simply, the changes introduced today by the Harper government and Minister Blaney will strike 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," said Greg Farrant, OFAH Manager of Government Affairs and Policy. "In our opinion, they have succeeded on both accounts."

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
--  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.

"These measures would streamline licensing and eliminate needless red tape for law-abiding gun owners," explained Minister Blaney. "It would also take steps to ensure that those convicted of domestic violent offences can be banned from owning firearms. My foremost priority is keeping the public safe, through common sense policies."

The OFAH also applauds the government's move to expand its Order Declaring an Amnesty Period (2014) that will ensure law-abiding owners of CZ 858 or Swiss Arms family of rifles are now able to fully use their property - as should have always been the case.

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.

With more than 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 720 member clubs, the OFAH is the province's largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org and follow Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters on Facebook at www.ofah.org/facebook and Twitter (@ofah).

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