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As of today, two of C-42’s most-anticipated components come into effect: The transition of POLs (Possession Only Licenses) to PALs (Possession and Acquisition Licenses) and the inclusion of the “Automatic Authorization to Transport” on RPAL licenses. While outlined in the text of C-42, both of these matters have been the subject of much debate, as the exact manner in which they will be released has been anything but clear… but as of today, the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program has finally issued a document outlining the process by which these changes will (and did) occur.

In the matter of the POL to PAL transition, it’s as simple as expected; if you possess a valid POL you now possess a valid PAL. There is no need to replace your card. You POL number is quite simply no registered as a PAL number in the firearms centre’s database so you may immediately proceed to your local gun shop and buy a new gun right now if you so desire. Obviously, when you renew your license, the newly-issued card will be labelled as a PAL but again that is not necessary until your card expires. If your POL has expired already, you must take the CFSC or CRFSC to obtain a PAL.

The matter of Automatic ATTs is a bit more nebulous. Basically, if you currently have an ATT to transport a firearm to a range or gun club, the following conditions have been automatically applied to your license:

These licence conditions authorize the transport of restricted and/or prohibited firearms registered to the licence holder within their province of residence by the most direct route possible for the specific indicated purposes.

  1. Transportation of restricted firearms and/or prohibited handguns (12(6.1) of the Firearms Act) possessed for the purpose of target practice to and from all shooting clubs and ranges approved under section 29 of theFirearms Act.
  2. Transportation of restricted firearms and/or prohibited firearms to and from any place a peace officer, firearms officer of Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) is located for verification, registration or disposal in accordance with the Firearms Act or Part III of the Criminal Code.
  3. Transportation of restricted firearms and/or prohibited firearms to and from a business that holds a licence authorizing it to repair or appraise prohibited or restricted firearms.
  4. Transportation of restricted firearms and/or prohibited firearms to and from a gun show.
  5. Transportation of restricted firearms and/or prohibited firearms to a port of exit, in order to take them outside Canada and from a port of entry.
  6. Transportation of newly acquired restricted firearms and/or prohibited firearms from the place of acquisition to the licence holder’s dwelling house or other place authorized by the CFO.

If you do not currently hold an ATT for the purposes of taking a firearm to the range, the above conditions have not been automatically applied to your license, but will be applied when you:

  • acquire your first restricted firearm;
  • acquire additional restricted or prohibited firearms;
  • request a new ATT during valid period of licence;
  • request a replacement ATT during valid period of licence; or,
  • renew your firearms licence with restricted and/or prohibited privileges.

When any one of those above events occurs, the automatic ATT conditions will be applied to your license, and a new license card will be printed to reflect that special conditions are attached to the license. The card carrier (paper that accompanies the license) issued with the new license will have the usual standard conditions listed, while the new six automatic ATT conditions will be listed under “Special Conditions” on the carrier. Whether or not this carrier must be carried with the license remains unclear as two separate calls to the Canadian Firearms Centre for clarification obtained two different responses; one which claimed the Special Conditions must be carried and one which claimed the carrier should be carried but was not legally necessary as the conditions are applied to the license regardless of if you physically possess the paper saying so and that confirmation of the conditions is available to any law enforcement officer electronically.

It should be noted as well that if the reason given for acquiring a new firearm is for the purposes of collecting firearms, only five automatic ATT conditions will be attached to your license, with the exclusion of the first condition. In other words if you have no ATT, and buy a new restricted or prohibited firearm for the purposes of collecting firearms, you will not get an automatic ATT allowing you take restricted/prohibited firearms to the range.

Holders of existing ATTs will not automatically receive a new card reflecting the new conditions that have been attached to their license (just as existing POL holders will not receive a card reflecting their new status as PAL holders), but the Canadian Firearms Centre’s database will reflect the changes in conditions for all RPAL holders that meet the criteria; namely those with pre-existing ATTs, and those that complete any of the above steps. Also, while the new conditions will have been applied to any existing ATT holders, the existing ATT remains valid. In a call to the Canadian Firearms Centre, we were told that for this reason it would be prudent to retain any existing ATTs with the restricted firearms they pertain to as they remain valid documents, but the Firearms Centre was also unanimous in saying that travelling to the range with restricted firearms but without our existing ATT (or any new license carrier declaring the new Special Conditions) this morning would be legal due to the new conditions placed upon our licenses.

For the full document from the RCMP go here: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/notice-avis-2015-09-eng.htm

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