Canadian Gun Owners Block Tighter Regulation
In this video Rod Giltaca, President of the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights, covers the significant increase in firearms regulations and laws in Canada that have been put into place since the early 1990s. It also highlights a selection of laws that lack any reasonable notion of common sense. Below you will find a brief history of legislation in Canada since 1991 as published by the RCMP, and references for each specific claim made in the video.
RCMP – History of Gun Control In Canada
Bill C-17 was introduced. It passed in the House of Commons on November 7, received Senate approval and Royal Assent on December 5, 1991, then came into force between 1992 and 1994. Changes to the FAC system included requiring applicants to provide a photograph and two references; imposing a mandatory 28-day waiting period for an FAC; a mandatory requirement for safety training; and expanding the application form to provide more background information. Bill C-17 also required a more detailed screening check of FAC applicants.
Some other major changes included: increased penalties for firearm-related crimes; new Criminal Code offences; new definitions for prohibited and restricted weapons; new regulations for firearms dealers; clearly defined regulations for the safe storage, handling and transportation of firearms; and a requirement that firearm regulations be drafted for review by Parliamentary committee before being made by Governor-in-Council. A major focus of the new legislation was the need for controls on military, para-military and high-firepower guns. New controls in this area included the prohibition of large-capacity cartridge magazines for automatic and semi-automatic firearms, the prohibition of automatic firearms that had been converted to avoid the 1978 prohibition (existing owners were exempted); and a series of Orders-in-Council prohibiting or restricting most para-military rifles and some types of non-sporting ammunition.
The Bill C-17 requirement for FAC applicants to show knowledge of the safe handling of firearms came into force in 1994. To demonstrate knowledge, applicants had to pass the test for a firearms safety course approved by a provincial Attorney General, or a firearms officer had to certify that the applicant was competent in handling firearms safely.
Bill C-17 added a requirement that safety courses had to cover firearms laws as well as safety issues.
After the 1993 federal election, the new Government indicated its intention to proceed with further controls, including some form of licensing and registration system that would apply to all firearms and their owners. Provincial and Federal officials met several times between January and July to define issues relating to universal licensing and registration proposals.
Between August 1994 and February 1995, policy options were defined for a new firearms control scheme, and new legislation was drafted.
Bill C-68 was introduced on February 14. Senate approval and Royal Assent were granted on December 5, 1995. Major changes included:
Criminal Code amendments providing harsher penalties for certain serious crimes where firearms are used (e.g., kidnapping, murder);
the creation of the Firearms Act, to take the administrative and regulatory aspects of the licensing and registration system out of the Criminal Code;
a new licensing system to replace the FAC system; licences required to possess and acquire firearms, and to buy ammunition;
registration of all firearms, including shotguns and rifles.
The Chief Firearms Officer was tasked with issuing firearm licences, and the Firearms Registrar, registration certificates. The Registrar is responsible, among other things, for registering firearms owned by individuals and businesses.
Provision was also made in the Firearms Act for the appointment of ten Chief Firearms Officers, that is, one for each province, with some provinces also including a territory. Chief Firearms Officers can be appointed by the provincial or the federal government. Be they appointed federally or provincially, Chief Firearms Officers are responsible for such things as issuing, renewing, and revoking Possession and Acquisition Licences.
The provisions requiring mandatory minimum sentences for serious firearms crimes came into effect in January. The Canada Firearms Centre (CFC) was given the task to develop the regulations, systems and infrastructure needed to implement the Firearms Act. CFC officials consulted extensively with the provinces and territories, and with groups and individuals with an interest in firearms, to ensure that the regulations reflected their needs as much as possible.
The Minister of Justice tabled proposed regulations on November 27. These dealt with such matters as:
– all fees payable under the Firearms Act;
– licensing requirements for firearms owners;
– safe storage, display and transportation requirements for individuals and businesses;
– authorizations to transport restricted or prohibited firearms;
– authorizations to carry restricted firearms and prohibited handguns for limited purposes;
– authorizations for businesses to import or export firearms;
– conditions for transferring firearms from one owner to another;
– record-keeping requirements for businesses;
– adaptations for Aboriginal people.
In January and February, public hearings on the proposed regulations were held by the House of Commons Sub-Committee on the Draft Regulations on Firearms, of the Standing Committee of Justice and Legal Affairs, and by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Based on the presentations that were made, a number of recommendations were made for improvements to the regulations. These recommendations were to clarify various provisions and to give more recognition to legitimate needs of firearms users. The Committee also recommended that the government develop a variety of communications programs to provide information on the new law to groups and individuals with an interest in firearms.
In April, the Minister of Justice tabled the government’s response, accepting all but one of the Committee’s 39 recommendations. The government rejected a recommendation for an additional procedure in the licence approval process.
In October, the Minister of Justice tabled some amendments to the 1996 regulations. She also tabled additional regulations at that time, dealing with:
– firearms registration certificates;
– exportation and importation of firearms;
– the operation of shooting clubs and shooting ranges;
– gun shows;
– special authority to possess; and
– public agents.
The regulations were passed in March. The Firearms Act and regulations were scheduled to be phased in starting December 1, 1998. The Canadian Firearms Registry was transferred from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the Department of Justice.
As of January 1, 2001, Canadians needed a licence to possess and acquire firearms.
The National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) was created to support law enforcement in combating the illegal movement of firearms. NWEST also assists police agencies in investigative support, training and lectures, analytical assistance, firearms tracing, expert witnesses, and links to a network of national and international firearms investigative groups.
As of January 1, 2003, individuals needed a valid licence and registration certificate for all firearms in their possession, including non-restricted rifles and shotguns. Firearms businesses also required a valid business licence and registration certificate for all firearms in their inventory.
The Canada Firearms Centre was transferred from the Department of Justice on April 14, 2003, and became an independent agency within the Solicitor General Portfolio.
On May 13, 2003, Bill C-10A, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Firearms) and the Firearms Act received Royal Assent. Statutory authority of all operations was consolidated under the Canadian Firearms Commissioner, who reported directly to the Solicitor General, now known as the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada.
A Commissioner of Firearms, who has overall responsibility for the administration of the program, was appointed.
In June 2003, proposed amendments to the Regulations supporting the Firearms Act were tabled in Parliament. Consultations with key stakeholders concerning the proposed regulations took place in the fall of 2003.
Some Bill C-10A regulations — those which improve service delivery, streamline processes and improve transparency and accountability — came into effect.
Responsibility for the administration of the Firearms Act and the operation of the Canada Firearms Centre was transferred to the RCMP in May 2006. The Commissioner of the RCMP assumed the role of the Commissioner of Firearms.
In June, 2006, Bill C-21, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act, was tabled, with the intent of repealing the requirement to register non-restricted long guns. It dies on the order paper.
Bill C-21 was reintroduced as Bill C-24.
The RCMP amalgamated their firearms-related sections, the Canada Firearms Centre and the Firearms Support Services Directorate, into one integrated group, the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP).
Bill C-24, like its predecessor, Bill C-21, died on the order paper in September 2008.
The remainder of the Public Agents Firearms Regulations came into force on October 31, 2008. Police and other government agencies that use or hold firearms were required to report all firearms in their temporary or permanent possession.
On October 25, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness introduced Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act (Ending the Long-gun Registry Act).
On April 5, Bill C-19, the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, came into force. The bill amended the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act to remove the requirement to register non-restricted firearms, ordered the destruction of existing registration records and allowed the transferor of a non-restricted firearm to obtain confirmation of the validity of a transferee’s firearms acquisition licence prior to the transfer being finalized.
Shortly after, the Government of Quebec filed a court challenge to Bill C-19. Due to a series of court orders and undertakings in these proceedings, non-restricted firearms registration records for the province of Quebec were retained, and Quebec residents continued to register non-restricted firearms.
In October, all non-restricted firearms registration records, except for Quebec, were destroyed.
On March 27, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Quebec’s appeal challenging the constitutionality of the provisions of the Ending the Long Gun Registry Act requiring destruction of the non-restricted registration records, and refused to order the transfer of these records to the Province of Quebec. As a result, the Canadian Firearms Program stopped accepting and processing registration/transfer applications for non-restricted firearms from within the province of Quebec, and all electronic records identified as being related to the non-restricted firearms registration records in Quebec were deleted.
On June 18, Bill C-42,the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, received royal assent, and the following provisions of that Act came into force: The Act amended the Firearms Act and Criminal Code to make classroom participation in firearms safety courses mandatory for first-time licence applicants; provide for the discretionary authority of Chief Firearms Officers to be subject to the regulations; strengthen the Criminal Code provisions relating to orders prohibiting the possession of firearms where a person is convicted of an offence involving domestic violence; and, provide the Governor in Council with the authority to prescribe firearms to be non-restricted or restricted.
On September 2, two additional provisions of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act came into force: the elimination of the Possession Only Licence (POL) and conversion of all existing POLs to Possession and Acquisition Licences; and the Authorization to Transport becoming a condition of a licence for certain routine and lawful activities. Other provisions of the Act which create a six month grace period at the end of a five year licence, and permitting the sharing of firearms import information when restricted and prohibited firearms are imported into Canada by businesses, are not yet in force.
Rifle Banned Due to Appearance Alone:
In 2015 the RCMP Classified a version of the Mossberg Blaze, a rimfire 22 Long Rifle semi-automatic rifle, prohibited solely due to it’s resemblance to an AK 47. Other versions of this rifle from mossberg are all non-restricted in Canada.
Rifle Banned Due to Engravings:
In 2016, the RCMP classified classified a batch of newly imported CZ 858 Spartan rifles as prohibited based on some new engravings, which changed nothing as far as the rifles functionality. CZ 858 rifles that were already in Canada prior to this import are all currently non-restricted or restricted depending on barrel length.
Shotgun Barrel Length – Same Gun, Different Classification:
A pump action shotgun who’s barrel is shortened by a gunsmith becomes prohibited:
Prohibited firearm* means:
- a handgun that
- has a barrel equal to or less than 105 mm in length, or
- is designed or adapted to discharge a 25 or 32 calibre cartridge, but does not include any such handgun that is prescribed, where the handgun is for use in international sporting competitions governed by the rules of the International Shooting Union,
- a firearm that is adapted from a rifle or shotgun, whether by sawing, cutting or any other alteration, and that, as so adapted,
- is less than 660 mm in length, or
- is 660 mm or greater in length and has a barrel less than 457 mm in length,
- an automatic firearm, whether or not it has been altered to discharge only one projectile with one pressure of the trigger, or
- any firearm that is prescribed to be a prohibited firearm in the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted.
But, a pump action shotgun purchased with the same short barrel from the factory would be non restricted:
Non-restricted firearm: any rifle or shotgun that is neither restricted nor prohibited.
Restricted firearm* means:
- a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm,
- a firearm that
- is not a prohibited firearm,
- has a barrel less than 470 mm in length, AND
- is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner,
- a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise, or
- a firearm of any other kind that is prescribed to be a restricted firearm in the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted.
Legal to target shoot with a large rifle on a large property, but not a handgun:
A Handgun may only be possessed inside the dwelling of the registered owner or at a shooting range approved by the chief firearms officer in each province. Authorizations to transport a handgun out of a dwelling and onto a registered owner’s rural property for the purpose of target practice are not issued. The same restrictions do not apply to firearms classified as non-restricted.
Firearms Act – Section 17
Places where prohibited and restricted firearms may be possessed
17 Subject to sections 19 and 20, a prohibited firearm or restricted firearm, the holder of the registration certificate for which is an individual, may be possessed only at the dwelling-house of the individual, as recorded in the Canadian Firearms Registry, or at a place authorized by a chief firearms officer.
Replica Firearms are Prohibited in Canada
To be prohibited as a replica firearm, a device must closely resemble an existing make and model of firearm.