Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights (CCFR) Interview
The CCFR is a “strong and reputable, public-facing voice for Canadian firearms owners” who are “committed to maintaining our current rights and freedoms while continuing to push as a mobilizing and organizational force for positive legislative change.” They “inform and educate the Canadian public”, “provide support and accurate information to media and government”, “promote human rights in Canada as they apply to defence of persons and property rights”, and “promote in an inclusive nature, all firearm related activities and culture in Canada.”
Rod M. Giltaca | CEO & Executive Director
What is the CCFR, what is your mission, and how do you go about fulfilling your objectives?
The CCFR is essentially a public relations organization tasked with representing the Canadian firearms community in the most positive way possible. Our mandate includes educating non-gun owning Canadians about the law, our sport, and the importance of private firearm ownership. A full list of what the CCFR has accomplished is available here:
Our notable accomplishments are encapsulated within the 12 explainer videos we produced (the first concerning firearm advocacy in Canadian history), our press conferences on Parliament Hill, and our TV show “Canada Down Range” (again, a first in Canadian broadcast history). You check out our YouTube channel and access all the content we have produced here:
We are also a lobbying organization. If you go to Lobby Canada and search for "firearms", you'll note we log the most activities of any firearm user group in Canada.
What is the CCFR's position on gun control measures within the Canadian context?
We believe that firearms in Canada are over-regulated. We use Statistics Canada data to support the majority of our arguments and policy positions. We believe that any regulation that does not have a demonstrable benefit to public safety should be repealed. We only promote policies that can be defended with evidence.
What is the CCFR’s ideal set of governmental laws/regulations regarding firearm ownership?
The public has 3 primary concerns and they are absolutely valid. We say this because we are the public and we want a safer Canada too. We just don't believe in emotional or irrational policymaking. The 3 primary concerns are:
We want to make it difficult as possible for criminals, or the mentally ill, to source firearms. At the very least they shouldn't be able to buy them at the local gun store.
We want to ensure that people who want to legally possess firearms to prove some basic level of competency for sake of legal compliance and public safety.
We want to have some legal mechanism to prohibit someone from possessing firearms if they misbehave or become mentally ill.
All of these concerns are addressed by the existing licensing system. If any other regulation is to be implemented, the government should bear the burden to prove that it serves a demonstrable benefit to public safety (which is not currently happening).
Can you explain the CCFR's position on a hypothetical "handgun ban" being proposed by the Trudeau government?
There is no evidence to support this potential action. Handguns are already banned to those who do not possess a legal license.
Should firearm ownership be considered a constitutionally protected right in Canada?
This should not be required. Canadians should have reasonable property rights and the right of self-defence enshrined within the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This should be guaranteed, not a fictitious talking point.
What has the CCFR noticed (in terms of correlation) between gun ownership and crime?
There is no correlation we, or Statistics Canada, are aware of. Legal firearm ownership has soared in Canada and yet there has been no change in the murder rate attributed to license holders. There, on the other hand, is a direct, non-controversial, and widely accepted correlation between gang activity and the homicide rate.
What are the biggest social, political and economic benefits of widespread firearm ownership?
There are many personal benefits and growth opportunities associated with owning and gaining proficiency in firearms. There are countless clubs, organizations, and sports to engage wherein communities form and skills can develop.
We also strongly believe that the Canadian people should not be made to suffer assault, rape, murder, or any other form of victimization because of the stigmatization of firearms for personal protection. We find it repugnant that a government would use force against law-abiding Canadians to ensure that criminals will not be injured in the commission of their crimes. It is morally wrong and we will continue to oppose this.
What are the major pitfalls of widespread firearm ownership?
In my personal opinion (I've been an instructor for the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program for 10 years, and run 4,000 students through the program), I believe that unregulated firearm ownership does present exposure in the areas of ignorance of the law, lack of understanding of firearms-related social responsibilities, and proper safety practices. All these concerns are addressed through a basic licensing system that currently requires a safety course. There are aspects of licensing that are not productive but overall these are the primary benefits.
Does the CCFR think that legal gun owners are unfairly maligned in mainstream culture?
Without question. I advocate for a position where the media (largely), the government and the uninformed are all against me. If I weren't factually and morally correct, it would be untenable.
Where does the CCFR see gun control in Canada in 5, 10, and 25 years?
So long as people will express opinions without feeling the responsibility to research, we will struggle between the properly informed and ignorant.