Policy Memorandum

Issue:

Self-Defence with a Firearm

Policy Memorandum No.:

15-7

Replaces (if applicable):

N/A

To be read with (if applicable):

15-10 (Concealed or Open Carrying of Firearms)

Passed by Policy Committee:

16 September 2015

Passed by Board of Directors

23 September 2015

Policy:

The CCFR believes that self-defence, including defence of other’s lives and safety, is a legitimate purpose for owning a firearm. The CCFR believes that using a firearm for self- defence, defence of others, or defence of property, should be held to the same standard as using any other weapon for such a purpose, or even using no weapon at all. In other words, there is no legitimate reason to carve out a special place for firearms as distinct from other use of force options.

Rationale and Discussion:

The CCFR believes that all individuals have an inalienable right to self-defence. This is found in s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ guarantee of “life, liberty, and security of the person” and is given expression in s. 34 and s. 35 of the Criminal Code. Section 34 of the Criminal Code specifically contemplates force, and if necessary deadly force, in order to defend one’s own life or the life of someone else. The CCFR believes that firearms play an important role in the use of force for self-defence: it is the only weapon capable of equalizing a small, weaker, person, with a large, stronger person. Furthermore, police cannot be everywhere at once; we are our own first responders, and should therefore have access to the same tools as they do.

The CCFR also believes that one’s home is one’s castle. At common law, there is no obligation to retreat from your home prior to resorting to force for self-defence. The CCFR believes this principle should be upheld and protected. The CCFR believes that it should also be legislatively enhanced to protect homeowners by having a presumption that an intruder in one’s home presents a danger to the occupants of the home.

For this reason, the CCFR believes that the use of firearms for self-defence compared to other weapons ought not to be frowned upon, that the availability of firearms for home defence be made clear as an exception to the strict storage regulations, and that properly trained and vetted individuals ought to be given authorizations to carry firearms for self-defence without needing to prove a specific threat or that police protection is insufficient.