If you want to own a firearm, here’s what you need to do first

Emily Plihal

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

If you’re gearing up to learn how to hunt, an important course will be held in Falher at the end of October that can be taken to have the authority to possess a firearm.

Smoky River Adult Learning is hosting a firearms safety course so individuals can own and possess an unrestricted firearm. The course will be offered on two separate dates because it is a very popular course, with both Oct. 21 and 22 open to interested students.

“We are offering this course as a service to the community,” says Smoky River Adult Learning administration coordinator Leslie Carbone. “According to The Alberta Hunter Education Instructors’ Association ‘A firearm is merely a tool. It is no more responsible for accidents or deaths than a pencil is responsible for spelling errors. Every time you pick up a firearm you become responsible for the actions of that firearm. You have control and you determine if the gun is safe or unsafe.’”

Hunters are expected to have a firearms license to carry their weapon in Canada. All individuals are expected to have a license if they are in possession of a weapon, even if they are not the owner of the gun and never handle the firearm.

The course will be held at the M.D. of Smoky River administration building in Falher and will run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. There is a maximum registration of only five people per class, so if individuals are interested, they need to register early.

“The Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) is required in Canada to apply for your Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). In Canada, you cannot own or buy a firearm or ammunition without obtaining your PAL Licence,” explains Carbone.

“Once the CFSC is completed an optional Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) can be taken, which may allow qualified individuals to purchase and possess firearms, subject to the restrictions in the Firearms Act. We will offer the CRFSC if there is enough community interest.”

The course content is controlled and approved by the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program and was developed to meet the mandatory requirements. Topics of the course include proving the firearm is safe, common shooting stances, loading and unloading, range procedures, safe handling procedures, and storage and transport requirements.

“Anyone who wants to own a firearm or buy ammunition should take this course,” says Carbone. “You do not need to be 18 to take the course; however you must be 18 to obtain your PAL Licence.”

The course costs $150 per person. If you are interested, please phone to register at (780) 837-3013. Pre-payment is required to hold a spot as the class is in high demand.

(Note: firearm safety courses are also offered in Slave Lake and High Prairie.)

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