Ontario CFO Comments on AR-15 Buying Surge, Gun Licensing

Dwight Peer, the Chief Firearms Officer for Ontario, comments below on the Canada-wide surge in buying AR-15 target rifles in May and June, gun-owner licensing, and related topics.

Peer spoke with TheGunBlog.ca on July 4 at his office in Orillia, about 130 km north of Toronto.


Ontario Chief Firearms Officer

  • Dwight Peer
  • Superintendent, Ontario Provincial Police
  • Age 53
  • Appointed by Ontario Liberal Party government in October 2017


Ontario Chief Firearms Office

  • Based in Orillia, Ontario
  • About 60 full-time staff
  • Main responsibilities
    • Work with RCMP to issue, refuse or revoke firearm Possession and Acquisition Licences (PAL)
    • Review and authorize ownership transfers of so-called “Restricted” and “Prohibited” firearms when they are bought, sold, given away or traded
    • Review and authorize requests for firearm Authorization To Transport (ATT)
    • Authorize shooting ranges


Ontario Snapshot

  • PAL Holders: 620,000 (About 28% of Canadian total)
  • Firearm/Ammunition businesses: 1,100
  • Shooting Ranges & Clubs: 275


Q&A With Ontario CFO Dwight Peer


AR-15 Buying Surge

How did the increase in AR-15 purchases affect your operations?
It was the community reacting to expected changes in legislation.

What we try to do is properly scrutinize any transfer activity, and not hold up transfers unnecessarily. Our standard is to process transfers within 14 days. We have to provide the proper level of scrutiny.

How did things go?
We had minimal complaints.

We appreciate the patience and cooperation of the community during that time.

It felt like a buying surge. Can you say how many more AR-15s were purchased in Ontario in May and June compared with past levels?
Let’s say it was higher than normal.



What do you consider when you assess people for a gun licence?
The responsibility and discipline that go with that licence is of utmost concern.

We are about public safety as it applies to the licence.

We look at it from the point of view of: Does the licensee have the responsibility and discipline that society expects of a gun owner?

That transcends the store or the range. It’s not only about when people are handling the firearm.


Speech, Behaviour

TheGunBlog.ca and others in the gun debate sometimes make provocative statements or are deliberately edgy as we explore complex topics around firearm ownership and challenge the regulatory status quo. How do you view that?
The question is: Is it thought provoking, or is it inciting hatred?

This office is apolitical.


What can shooters do about PAL holders who we think shouldn’t own guns or have a PAL?
I think it’s very simple. It’s people in the community looking out for their community.

It’s a continuum of responsibility.


Personal PAL

Do you have a PAL?
No, I don’t. I enjoy my range day, where I train with my duty firearm.

Although my father is a lifelong hunter, I have only shot once with him, under his direct and immediate supervision, of course.

I am committed to getting my PAL. I just haven’t done it yet.