Gary Mauser: Ottawa’s New Rules on Sale of Firearms Effectively Create a Long-Gun Registry

The facts do not support claim that ordinary gun ownership is a threat to public safety
May 13, 2022 Updated: May 16, 2022

Commentary

Would you like to give a firearm to your son or daughter? Perhaps to teach them firearms safety?

Don’t do it … without first calling the RCMP.

Starting May 18, giving a rifle to your child or grandchild will be illegal without first getting permission from the RCMP—even if you already own the firearm you want to share.

Feel safer now?

On May 11, Public Safety Minster Marco Mendicino announced that sellers will be required to ask the RCMP before transferring any non-restricted firearm. This is now required even if you both have firearm licences. Of course, having a firearms licence means you have been vetted by the RCMP and have successfully taken a firearms safety course.

“Non-restricted firearm” is Ottawa-lingo for a normal rifle or shotgun. Despite this term, many complex restrictions govern owning a rifle or shotgun in Canada.

The new rules starting May 18 require that before being allowed to sell, trade, lend, or give any firearm, owners must first contact the RCMP to get permission. This includes private sales and family gifts. For communities concerned about criminal violence and property, the new rules sure sound like unnecessary busy work.

Starting May 18, giving or selling a rifle or shotgun will require giving the RCMP the following information:

  • the transferor’s [seller] licence number
  • the transferee’s [buyer] licence number
  • the firearm’s make, model, and type and, if any, its serial number
  • the reference number issued by the RCMP Registrar of Firearms
  • the day on which the reference number was issued

Until the regulations are made public, it is impossible to know if these new regulations will stop sales at gun shows. Most gun shows happen on weekends when the Registrar of Firearms is closed.

For decades all that has been required to give, buy or sell a rifle or shotgun was that the buyer and seller had to show each other their firearm licence. That’s worked fine. The government has not produced any convincing evidence that illegal sales are widespread among Possession and Acquisition Licence holders or a source of crime guns. There is no need to crack down on honest people.

The facts do not support claim that ordinary gun ownership is a threat to public safety. The police know that gangsters get their guns by smuggling, but the Liberals refuse to beef up border security or even keep violent criminals in jail.

Governments are substituting insults for sensible policy. Instead, the truth is that gun owners are a credit to Canada. Professional surveys reliably show that firearm owners earn above average income by holding down good jobs. The details are buried in the demographics, but they show gun owners are professionals or skilled blue-collar workers like electricians and plumbers.

This is the start of a new long-gun registry that the government promised not to reintroduce.

These new restrictions are part of Bill C-71 which was proclaimed two years ago but is being phased in slowly as the Liberals hire more bureaucrats. The Liberals are quiet about how much these new restrictions will cost taxpayers.

Businesses must now keep records of inventory and sales related to rifles and shotguns for 20 years and share their records with police whenever they ask. Not only does this effectively create a new long-gun registry, but it offloads the costs onto small businesses.

Section 102 of the Firearms Act gives the Chief Firearms Officer the power to inspect and copy any and every store record at any time, without a warrant.

Section 101 of the Criminal Code makes improper record-keeping a crime punishable by five years in prison.

In plain language, sections 101 and 102 imply that these records belong to the government, not gun stores, and when records about firearms and firearm owners is de facto owned by the government, it’s a gun registry.

Bill C-71 forces firearm retailers to create, pay for, and maintain what amounts to a new long gun registry. Most gun stores are small businesses, so the costs of these additional requirements will drive some out of business. This is on top of losses forced on firearms retailers by Justin Trudeau’s 2020 ban. The Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association estimates that retailers will lose almost $1 billion in inventory that can’t be sold or returned to suppliers due to the 2020 order-in-council.

The Liberals say these new rules are to fight criminal violence. They can’t be serious, because the Trudeau Liberals force provinces to let violent criminals out of jail on their “catch and release” policies for gun crimes. In fact, the Liberals plan to reintroduce Bill C-21, which died on the order paper, in order to eliminate mandatory minimum penalties.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Gary Mauser
Gary A. Mauser is a professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.