Safety class makes taking guns into Canada easier

Posted: Friday, February 16, 2001

A Juneau resident is looking for a faster, cheaper way for Alaskans to take guns into Canada.

Gary Jenkins is organizing a firearms safety class for Saturday, Feb. 24. It includes procedures for the proper transportation, storage and display of weapons in Canada.

It will cost $55 per person for the day-long course and another $20 for a background check by the state.

"This is not just for hunters, it's for any person wanting to carry guns through Canada," said Jenkins, who hopes to have up to 60 participants. He wants people to call him in advance at 780-6633.

His efforts come on the heels of a Canadian law that went into effect Jan. 1, tightening regulations at the border and costing U.S. residents time and money.

Visitors who don't have a valid Canadian firearms license must declare weapons by completing a nonresident declaration form and paying a $50 (Canadian) confirmation fee. The temporary license is good for 60 days and may be renewed at any time during a 12-month period.

"We have to record all the personal data, like name, address, and description of gun," said Gary Burgess, superintendent of Canadian Customs Operations in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. "I've been hearing it takes 15 to 25 minutes to do, and that's in a perfect world."

Taking the firearms course, which includes a written exam and practical test, will help people get a Canadian firearms license that costs $60 (Canadian) and is good for five years.

Instructor Dave Sterner will come from Whitehorse to teach the firearms class in Juneau.

"The best thing about this is it will really help you guys at the border, saving all that time filling out forms," Sterner said. "The paperwork can be a killer."

Burgess agrees.

"It will speed things up for sure, even though we may ask to look at the license or the gun," the Canadian customs official said. "I'm glad Dave's doing this. It just makes it easier for everyone involved."



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