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LETTER: Gun control laws are already strict

'The results of the poll makes me wonder if the recipients made the distinction between possessing a lawful firearm versus using a gun illegally in Canada'

BradfordToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via our website. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to an article about poll suggesting most people favour stricter gun control laws, published Nov. 25.

RE: Poll: Most favour stricter gun control laws

The results of the poll makes me wonder if the recipients made the distinction between possessing a lawful firearm versus using a gun illegally in Canada.

The increasing problem we have in this country is the illegal use of weapons (99 per cent being handguns) that are being smuggled into Canada and used in the commission of criminal acts. These illegal weapons are being smuggled into Canada in epidemic proportions leading law abiding citizens to wonder what law enforcement agencies are doing to stop the activity. Current bail reform laws and soft-on-crime judges who are repeatedly releasing the same offenders on bail only add to this problem.

Many people are unaware of the protocols that are in place that control the possession and use of lawful firearms in Canada.

To legally acquire a restricted firearm in Canada, the individual must take not one but two  courses that are taught by qualified instructors, appointed and regulated by the federal government (Chief Firearms Office). Both courses are costly. Both require the student to write and pass both written and practical examinations. Many students don't succeed; those who are successful may then apply for a firearms acquisition and possession licence (an additional fee) which is issued by the RCMP.

The licence is only issued by the RCMP after an exhaustive months-long assessment by the police of the individual's background. Only once a licence has been issued is the individual entitled to purchase a firearm at a licensed facility. The cost of such firearms begin at $1,000 and increase from there. Weapons that are prohibited by law cannot be purchase in Canada. Once lawfully acquired, the weapon must be stored in an approved firearms safe ranging in value from $500 to $1,000-plus. Ammunition must be stored elsewhere, away from the firearm, in a separate secure receptacle. Law enforcement has authority to enter and inspect the individual's residence at anytime to ensure the weapon is secured in accordance to regulations and the law.

One can argue that the poll results that were published may be considerably different if the participants fully understood the requirements to lawfully obtain and possess firearms in Canada as stated.

Be assured, Canadian citizens willing to go through the process and the associated costs of acquiring legal firearms in Canada are not the ones shooting up our neighbourhoods.

Brian Abraham