STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION
Policy Memorandum No.:
16 July 2019
The CCFR agrees that minimum safe storage requirements should be regulated, but these should specifically not apply to firearms that are under the immediate control of a licensed user or otherwise “on standby” for home defense purposes. Contravention of the safe storage requirements ought not to be an offence in the Criminal Code but instead an offence under the Firearms Act to be prosecuted as a contravention under the Contraventions Act. Beyond this, storage, transportation, and use ought to be left to ordinary principles of civil negligence or, where appropriate, criminal negligence. This includes the complete elimination of the requirement for an Authorization to Transport for restricted or prohibited firearms.
RATIONALE AND DISCUSSION:
The biggest problem with the current storage regulations is that they fail to allow for reasonable, lawful, use of a firearm by a properly licensed individual for home defence or self- defence. By so doing, the law goes much further than what is required for a genuine public safety purpose, with severe criminal sanctions for even inadvertent non-compliance.
What is reasonably required is a minimum storage standard to ensure against theft and unauthorized use of those firearms which are truly in storage, that is not in use and not in the direct control of a licensed user. For those firearms, the standard should be that they be stored unloaded, and stored in a securely locked container, receptacle, vault, safe, or room. The container, receptacle, vault, safe, or room should be constructed so that it cannot readily be broken open or into.
In terms of transportation, it is reasonable to require that any unattended firearms be locked in a trunk, if the vehicle has a trunk, or else locked in the vehicle in a manner where they are not visible from the outside.
Anything else above this should be left to ordinary principles of civil negligence, or where appropriate criminal negligence. If someone is negligent (showing even a small departure from the standard of care of a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances) and as a result someone else suffers damages, these damages would be compensated through civil negligence. If someone is criminally negligent (showing a marked departure from the standard of care of a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances) and as a result someone else suffers bodily harm (which is any hurt or injury that interferes with the health or comfort of the person that that is more than merely transient or trifling, including psychological injury) or death, then the negligent person would be guilty of criminal negligence causing death (currently liable to a minimum 4 years, maximum life) or criminal negligence causing bodily harm (currently liable to a maximum 10 years).
The elimination of ATTs in Section 19(2.1) b), c), d), and e) of the Firearms Act; as well as the restriction of prohibited firearms ATTs to specified rather than all clubs and ranges present an wasteful and unnecessary added step for law abiding firearm owners which does nothing to prevent criminals from transporting firearms however they choose.
All ATT requirements only serve to restrict the legal enjoyment of firearms by the law abiding, while doing nothing to force criminals to comply with the law. The CCFR supports safe storage and transportation, but ATT requirements aid neither, and only serve to create unnecessary work for the RCMP and firearm owners.