During the past few month Bill 4 – 2021 the ‘Firearm Violence Prevention Act’ has been quietly working its way through the system and on March 22, 2021 received third and final reading. This act was largely based on the Illegal Firearms Task Force Final Report (A report to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia September 30, 2017) that all clubs were invited to make submissions on. Clearly no one listened to the clubs submissions.
This act will have a large impact on the way clubs do business. Range users and how they sign in will also be greatly impacted. Part 4- Shooting ranges is the primary reason for these changes. It appears to be based on an assumption by the framers of the bill that ‘gang bangers’, drug traffickers and other criminals are using the ranges at Fish & Game clubs to practice with their firearms. This is a ridiculous assumption but once the NDP obtained a majority government the passage of the bill was a forgone conclusion. It is based on their anti-firearms agenda and not any proven facts.
PLEASE READ THIS – IT IS GOING TO AFFECT ALL OF US A GREAT DEAL.
The act states ‘An operator of a shooting range must keep records that contain the information required under this section about each shooting range user’ and that ‘ Despite subsections (2) and (3), the shooting range records must contain the prescribed information about a shooting range user’. Prescribed information hasn’t been established yet but the act requires that a user who uses a non-restricted, prohibited, or restricted firearm must produce a PAL.
If a shooting range user is a member of a shooting club, the shooting range records must contain:
- the name of the shooting range user;
- the name of the shooting club;
- the membership number of the shooting range user in respect of the shooting club;
- the dates on which the shooting range is used or has been used by the shooting range user and what it calls ‘prescribed information’.
If a shooting range user is not a member of a shooting club, the shooting range records must contain:
- the name, address and phone number of the shooting range user;
- if the shooting range user is authorized to possess firearms under a federal licence, the licence number of the federal licence;
- if the shooting range user is not authorized to possess firearms under a federal licence, the date of birth of the shooting range user;
- the dates on which the shooting range is used or has been used by the shooting range user; and prescribed information.
As this is law, clubs will have no choice and will be required to keep these records if they want to stay open. Members will have to produce two pieces of ID – not certain but likely to be your PAL and driver’s license – every time they attend the ranges. Failure to produce the prescribed identification will result in the member being turned away.
This act provides authority to make regulations respecting identification, including without limitation, regulations that prescribe the form and manner of identification that may or must be produced. We will not know what this looks like until the government advises all clubs and sets out a timeline for implementation.
Complying with these provisions will require the club to have range officers on duty during all open hours. Because of the increase in requirements there will likely have to be two range officers on duty, one to supervise the ranges and one to collect and record the information. Currently we do not have enough volunteers to stay open all the time so if you were ever considering being a range officer now is the time to step up. You can contact Rob Clarke, the Chief Range officer, for more information about becoming a range officer.
Please remember when you attend the ranges that no one dislikes these provisions more than the range officers who have to enforce them. Don’t take it out on them – be polite, respectful, and patient as we work our way through this new system.
Stay tuned – we will let you know when and in what form this Act mandates how we sign in members and record the required information. We will do our best to make the process as smooth and quick as we can within whatever our legal requirements will be.