Guns used in Colorado theatre shooting legal in Canada

// World | Guns used in Colorado theatre shooting legal in Canada
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

The recent mass shooting at a Colorado movie theatre has raised questions about access to firearms and renewed calls for stronger gun control laws in the United States.

Talk radio, newspaper editorials and articles, and current affairs television programs in the last week have all had people on both sides of the gun control debate weigh in on whether stricter laws could have prevented the shooting spree in the city of Aurora. Some politicians have called for a review of firearms laws while others have said that if more Americans were allowed to more easily carry guns, maybe one of them could have shot back at the suspect in the movie theatre and prevented injuries and deaths.

Three guns were reported to have been used by the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring almost 60 others at a screening of The Dark Knight last Friday: a Smith & Wesson AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge Remington 870 shotgun and a .40-calibre Glock handgun. Police say the suspect, James Holmes, bought the firearms legally in the last six months. He also bought thousands of rounds of ammunition.

All of those guns are available for purchase in Canada — for those who have the appropriate licences and permits.

"None of those firearms are particularly unique or special," said Tony Bernardo, executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.

To get one of them in Canada, however, there are more laws to follow and requirements to meet than in the United States, he said.

"For all kinds of firearms, it's more tightly controlled in Canada," said Bernardo.

To buy and possess a gun in Canada, a licence has to be acquired no matter what kind of gun it is. But the type of firearm will dictate the type of licence, and other restrictions such as transportation and storage rules.

For all licences, the Canadian Firearms Safety Course has to be taken, a test passed and a police background check completed. There are some exceptions for the course requirement. Alternative certification, for example, can be granted at the discretion of chief firearms officers.

The Remington shotgun, as long as it wasn't modified, would be classified as a non-restricted firearm under Canadian law, requiring a non-restricted possession and acquisition licence (PAL).

Bernardo said the Remington is one of the most commonly produced hunting shotguns in the world.

"There are millions of them in Canada," he said.

Until recently, gun owners also had to register their shotguns and rifles, also known as long guns. The controversial long-gun registry was abolished in April when Parliament passed Bill C-19. Restricted and prohibited firearms still must be registered in the RCMP-managed database.

Guns can't be concealed in Canada

When it comes to the Smith & Wesson rifle and the handgun, the rules are tighter than for the long guns because they are classified as restricted firearms in Canada.

To possess a restricted firearm, you must have a PAL plus take an extra training course and pass its exam.

Police checks are done at the local, provincial, and federal levels, according to Bernardo, and CSIS and Interpol databases are also consulted. The person's spouse, neighbours and employer may also be consulted by police before a licence application is approved.

That's not the case for someone trying to buy a handgun in most U.S. states. The FBI runs a background check but generally, no licence is required to possess it, or to carry it concealed. Gun laws vary from state to state, however, and different rules can apply.

With some exceptions for police officers and some others, Canadians generally are not allowed to carry any gun concealed. A special permit must be obtained to transport a restricted firearm anywhere, even if it's from someone's house to the shooting range.

"It is definitely a bit of a process," Jason Swanson, director at Executive Firearms Training in Richmond, B.C., said of acquiring a restricted firearm in Canada.

Restrictions on magazine size

There are also limits on the number of rounds that restricted firearms can have, and they differ from the United States. Handguns in Canada, except for the ones used by police, are limited to a 10-round magazine whereas in the U.S. they can have 15 rounds.

The magazine size for semi-automatic long guns is also restricted in Canada, generally to five cartridges.

"The magazines for the Canadian market are different than the rest of the world per se," said Tony DiSalvatore, owner of Canadian Firearms Academy in Surrey, B.C.

"All the magazines look pretty much identical but they're pinned or altered so that they can only handle the specific requirements," he said.

The Colorado shooting suspect reportedly had a 100-round magazine for his rifle, a size that firearms experts have said is unusual for that firearm.

The Glock handgun allegedly used by Holmes is one of the most common handguns, according to Bernardo. "For a hobbyist that's using it for target shooting, it's a reasonable choice," he said, adding it is reliable and reasonably priced.

The semi-automatic Smith & Wesson rifle allegedly used by Holmes is also a popular model. "It's as common as dirt," he said. Bernardo said that while Canada has it on its restricted list, the rest of the world views it as a standard sporting rifle.

He's not surprised that the Colorado shooting incident has stirred up debate in the U.S. about gun laws, just as the recent shootings in Toronto have put the spotlight on gun violence. Law-abiding gun owners often take the blame for gun violence, even though they have nothing to do with it, said Bernardo.

"We're so clean, we squeak," he said.

His organization advocated for the elimination of the requirement to register long guns, but groups such as the Coalition for Gun Control argued to maintain it. The gun control group said registration rules helped police trace guns used in crimes and that they helped promote accountability among gun owners.

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Senator Stella Oduah Officially Elected President of ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians

Former Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, a lawmaker representing Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly Abuja, has been elected as the ... Full story

Fuel Hike: Nigerian Students Threaten To Shut Down Schools In 11 States

The National Association of Nigeria Students,NANS, zone B, yesterday threatened to shutdown all tertiary institutions in the zone, comprising 11 states today in protest against ... Full story

Ijaw Youths Want Goodluck Jonathan Arrest And Face The Consequences

The Ijaw Youths Congress, IYC, has warned the Federal Government against its plan to arrest former President Goodluck Jonathan over the ongoing probe of massive ... Full story

Nigeria Bleeds As Militants Blow Up More Pipelines

By Emma Amaize, Soni Daniel, Clara Nwachukwu, Emman Ovuakporie, Michael Eboh, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Egufe Yafugborhi, Brisibe Perez and Akpokona Omafuaire The nation's crude oil fortunes took ... Full story

President Buhari Reveals His Biggest Shock in Office

President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja yesterday, told editors and newspaper executives in a brief interview to mark the administration’s first year in office that the ...

Ekiti Workers Blast Fayose And Begin Indefinite Strike Over Non-Payment Of Five Month Arrears Of Salaries And Deductions

Government business and academic activities in public schools were paralysed yesterday as civil servants and teachers in Ekiti State began an indefinite strike to protest ...

I Can’t Sell Myself Or My Family To Pay Striking Ekiti Workers Says Fayose

Governor Ayodele Fayose has said he has no immediate solution to the demands of striking workers in Ekiti State, stressing that he cannot sell himself ...

EFCC Has Recovered Several Billions Of Dollars In 6 Months Says Magu

Within the last six months, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, secured more than 140 convictions and recovered billions of dollars in stolen funds ...

Bill To Increase Power Of Sharia Passes 2nd Reading Without Debate

The bill to increase the powers and jurisdiction of Sharia Law in Nigeria passed second reading at the lower chambers of the national assembly without ...

Agatu killings: Benue Demands N100 Billion Compensation

The people of Benue State are asking for N100b compensation for the attacks on Agatu area of the State by unidentified Fulani herdsmen that led ...

We Warned You: Nigerian Militant Group Tells Chevron

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 26 (UPI) -- A militant group in the Niger Delta said it targeted a Chevron Pipeline in the region after the company ... Full story

Comment on: Guns used in Colorado theatre shooting legal in Canada

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Nigerian Beauty Queen Involved In Serious Motor Accident

Face of Idoma carnival, Queen Ashley Yusuf was involved in a terrific motor accident along deadly Lafia - Akwanga road in Nassarawa state on Tuesday ... Full story

Breaking News: CAF Bans Giwa And 4 Others For 5 Years

Confederation of African Football, CAF, has slammed a five-year ban on embattled Chris Giwa and four four of his disciples thereby confirming and extending the ...

Onazi Named As Captain For Mali Friendly

Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi will captain Nigeria in their friendly game against Mali in Rouen, France, tonight. The 23-year-old Onazi is one of the most senior ...

Yobo Testimonial: Port-Harcourt Agog As Top Football Stars Arrive

The Garden City of Port Harcourt will this evening play host to Joseph Yobo's testimonial match in celebration of his retirement and centenary appearance for ...

VIDEO: Jose Mourinho's First Interview As Manchester United Manager

Newly appointed manager of Manchester United Jose Mourinho gave his first interview to the club's TV channel, MUTV. Watch the video below. ...

OFFICIAL: Enyeama Extends Contract With Lille

Former Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has signed a two-year extension to his contract at Lille, the French club have announced. Enyeama’s previous deal was due to ...

Mourinho: Please Do Not Call Me Arrogant...I Am An European Champion

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was officially confirmed as Manchester United's new manager on Friday, here are five of the most memorable quotes of his ...

FA Cup Quarterfinal Replays To Be Scrapped

The Football Association has announced FA Cup quarterfinal replays will be jettisoned from next season. In a move approved by the FA board on Thursday, the ...

OFFICIAL: Mourinho Appointed Manchester United Manager

Manchester United have offcially announced the appointment of Jose Mourinho as their new manager. Mourinho, who has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford, ...

United Airlines Pulls Out Of Nigeria Over FX Crisis

United Airlines, Chicago-based American airline, is pulling out of Nigeria over difficulty in recovering monies made from tickets sales, due to Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy. The ...