Bill 4 – 2021: Firearm Violence Prevention Act – First Reading

Once passed, this Bill will make it more difficult for BC shooting, fish and game clubs to operate a shooting range. Bill 4 adds another layer of bureaucracy, and complexity, that every shooting club will have to deal with. Given the party majority, this Bill will become provincial law.

Specifically, Part 4 – Shooting Ranges include “duties to require” clubs to ask shooting range users to produce identification or a fireams licence before a person can shoot. So, regardless of the licence classification you hold, our club will be required to ask you to produce your firearms licence before your start shooting.

Once Bill 4 passes, the easiest way to minimize the intrusion on your shooting experience is that all members who shoot provide their PAL number at the time they join or renew their membership with our Club. We collect the information once from you and we don’t bother you again by asking you to produce your firearms licence while shooting on the range.

The processes and procedures we implemented for the electronic gate and online membership functions will help our Club easily meet the requirements of this legislation when it passes all readings. Range use information is collected at the electronic gate and guests are still required to sign-in. All record keeping requirements stipulated in Bill 4 are easily accommodated; we now will have to keep records for both the provincial and federal governments.

We are lucky as a club! Many other clubs will find this provincial legislation very burdensome, labour intensive or expensive to implement, and may not be able to meet this Bill’s requirements.

I highly recommend that you inform yourself and visit the following links to review the legislation and the analysis provided by Ian Runkle, an Edmonton firearms and criminal lawyer:

  1. Bill 4: https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-debates-proceedings/42nd-parliament/1st-session/bills/first-reading/gov04-1 and
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBs0IHtGTnA analysis.

Once Bill 4 is passed, the new definitions for low velocity firearms and imitation firearms, transportation of such fireams, along with search, seizure and confiscation provisions will really confuse what an individual firearms licence holder can and can’t do.

Are you confused! There is the federal government’s 2019 Bill C-71, which has not been implemented, the May 2020 federal Cabinet Order in Council, that is being challenged in the courts by a variety of firearm organizations and individuals, the new federal Bill C-21, which is currently working its way through Parliament, and may be challenged, and now the BC government, with this Bill 4, has entered the fray by introducing their own provincial legislation to prevent firearm violence.

The courts will have to interpret the intention, jurisdiction and what is meant by each of these pieces of legislation. Inevitably, a licenced firearms owner is going to get caught up in court with this quagmire of legislation before any clarity happens.

I wish I had better news. There are too many unknowns.

Cheers

Richard Wale
President – SAFGC