Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaires d’armes sans permis

A Cancer of the Soul

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What is Wrong with Having a Licence?

I have a very good friend who does not seem to be able to understand why we so steadfastly, adamantly refuse to apply for a license to possess our firearms.

No, she does not use the worn-out argument “we get a licence to drive a car”. And my friend understands the difference between “licence” and “registration”. She understands that the licence applies to the person and the registration applies to the vehicle. My friend is a farm girl so she also understands that we can own a car or truck on a farm and drive across our personal property with neither a driver’s licence nor vehicle registration.

What my friend has a problem comprehending is the difference between the licence mandated by the Firearms Act of 1995 – the Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) - and the 1977 vintage Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) that I previously carried with me everywhere I went.

In our frequent discussions I have begun by explaining that the FAC was a merely a “certificate” that “certified” something. In this case the FAC certified that I had paid the police ten bucks to check their records, and that they had not found my name on any of their various lists. Therefore the police issued me a certificate, and I could legally acquire firearms.

I would then explain the significance of the “L” in the PAL that stands for “licence”. There is a BIG difference between a “licence” and a “certificate”. The licence – issued by the federal government – gives a person permission to do something that would otherwise be illegal. In this case the “L” part of the PAL gives a person government permission to acquire and possess firearms. [For purposes of brevity I ignore the POL that conveys permission only to possess previously acquired firearm.]

I would then try to explain that with the 1977-style FAC we could acquire a firearm and then destroy the FAC and still possess our firearms. But under the 1995 Firearms Act, a person in possession of a firearm is now required to have a licence. The Firearms Act gives the police the authority to “demand” that we produce a licence when in possession of our firearms. So now any time I am out hunting ducks– in addition to having my Saskatchewan hunting licence, provincial habitat stamp, and federal migratory bird permit – the federal government demands that I now also have a federal firearms licence - as if the Saskatchewan Hunter Safety Course was meaningless because it was provided by dedicated wildlife volunteers.

I then firmly state that we have openly refused to comply with the federal government’s mandate to apply for a firearms licence to possess or acquire our firearms, and that we will not cease our peaceful non-compliance until the government repeals the entire Firearms Act.(1)

I think I have done well in my concise explanation. If I did not look into my friend’s eyes I would most likely consider the topic well covered. But there is something bugging my friend. Hesitantly, for my friend knows me well and does not want to spend the next five hours on this topic, she asks, “But what is wrong with having a licence? Are we not safer when firearms owners have a licence?”

So I take a deep breath and try again.

Yes, we both agree that some degree of government scrutiny is probably logical where the transfer of a firearm is involved. Both the now obsolete FAC and the current PAL help the seller of a firearm to have some degree of comfort in knowing that he/she is most likely not transferring a firearm to a known violent criminal. But since criminals ignore both the FAC and PAL and can easily acquire any type of firearms they desire, neither the FAC nor the PAL provides any safety benefit to society except to the seller of a firearm. The 1977 FAC provided that degree of societal protection just as well as the 1995 Firearms Act PAL, and at a minuscule fraction of the cost.

But the point that my friend needs to understand – and understand well – is that the Firearms Act of 1995 attempts to strip honest, responsible citizens of our innate, Natural Right of armed self-defense. That objective is implicitly written into the Firearms Act at Section 117(a) & (c)(i):
The Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) regulating the issuance of licences, ... prescribing the circumstances in which persons are or are not eligible to hold licences; …
(c) prescribing the circumstances in which an individual does or does not need firearms

(i) to protect the life of that individual or of other individuals, ... .(2)
With the Firearms Act the federal government now claims total responsibility for our protection.

Having seen enough Liberal and Conservative scams and dishonesty, both provincially and nationally, my friend no longer unquestioningly trusts our government. She understands that our personal self-protection is something far too important to be entrusted to any government agent or agency. Therefore for her personal well-being, my friend needs to comprehend the vital difference between an FAC and a PAL. The vital difference is based neither on cost nor efficiency; the difference is between a Right versus a mere privilege; a Right we hold and exercise at our discretion.

If we do not preserve our Right to have ‘Armes for their Defense’ the government will regulate our firearms out of existence.
Edward B. Hudson DVM, MS
17 May 2009


(1) Affidavits of CUFOA members to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal
(2) The Canadian Right of ‘Armes for their Defense’ – Ed Hudson

Canadian Unlicensed Firearms Owners Association
Association canadienne des propriétaries sans permis
402 Skeena Crt. Saskatoon
Saskatchewan S7K 4H2
(306) 242-2379 (306) 230-8929