RCMP in Nunavut have trained detachment commanders to offer firearms safety courses in communities, many of which haven't had any such training available in years. 

No central organization has organized gun safety training in the territory in years, and few courses have been available to the public outside of Iqaluit.


Cpl. Yvonne Niego with the RCMP in Iqaluit says there is a big demand for firearms safety training in Nunavut communities. (CBC)

RCMP Cpl. Lorne Morrison was one of the detachment commanders who got the training last fall. He's planning three firearms safety courses in Igloolik, Nunavut, next month — two for the public and one for women only.

"The response has been phenomenal," Morrison said.

"We've had so many people coming up to us, asking, 'When is the gun course? When is the gun course?' The people here they really do want to know how to store their guns safely and they really do want to know how to make it safer for their kids. Nobody wants to see an accident with a young child, so everyone's been on board and it's been a really great program."

Cpl. Yvonne Niego with the RCMP in Iqaluit. She said times are changing, and there's a big demand for firearms safety training.

"We don't have as many full-time hunters, sustenance hunters as we did in the past, and you need to practise safety regularly to be able to stay completely safe, so I think there's a huge demand for the course."

Niego said offering the courses is outside of the mandate of individual police officers, but, she said it does fulfil the bigger mandate of keeping communities safe.

Niego has been visiting communities, going door-to-door handing out trigger locks and talking about gun safety. So far, she's been in four communities.

Niego said she's also heard a lot of confusion about licences.

"That's been the biggest issue is the licensing," she said. "Most Nunavummiut want to abide by the law, it's just difficult to."

RCMP have been helping Nunavummiut apply for and renew firearms licences. Until May 16, people can renew their possession-only firearms licences for free.

All gun owners in Canada must hold a firearms possession or possession-and-acquisition licence. Most Canadians must first pass a gun safety course. However, aboriginal people can be exempt from that requirement.