This article is from the can.talk.guns FAQ, by Skeeter Abell-Smith firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Supreme Court decisions indicate the current permit system is illegal.
If it is illegal to do something unless one possesses a certificate (or
permit) the court ruled in the recent abortion law decision the permit
is thus a "specifically tailored defence to a particular charge" and
"...when Parliament creates a defence to a criminal charge, the defence
should not be illusory or so difficult to obtain as to be practically
illusory." It is illegal to carry a firearm without a permit, but
citizens are routinely refused that permit, and so the defence is
illusory or so difficult to obtain as to be practically illusory.
In Director of Investigation and Research of the Combines Investigation
Branch et al. v. Southam Inc. , the Supreme Court of Canada ruled
"The location of the constitutional balance between a justifiable
expectation of privacy and the legitimate needs of the state cannot
depend upon the subjective appreciation of individual adjudicators. Some
objective standard must be established." Local firearms registrars and
provincial firearms officers are individual adjudicators who decide
whether one will get the specifically tailored defence (a permit) to a
particular charge (carrying without a permit).
In R. V. Sault Ste. Marie (3CR [3d] 30) the Supreme Court said, "The
distinction between the true criminal offence and the public welfare
offence is one of prime importance" "... the offences in question have
usually turned on... an unlawful status... e.g. permitting an
unlicensed person to drive or lacking a valid licence oneself". Since
registrations permits are licences to possess, and carry permits are
licenses to carry, it follows that lack of such a licence places one in
an unlawful status, and that such offences are public welfare offences,
not criminal offences. As such, the offences do not belong in the