RCMP Has Taken Custody of 2,123 Newly Labelled Prohibited Firearms Since 2020 Order

RCMP Has Taken Custody of 2,123 Newly Labelled Prohibited Firearms Since 2020 Order
The RCMP logo is seen outside the force's 'E' division headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on March 16, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)
Noé Chartier

With the gun buyback program yet to kick into gear, the RCMP has released data on the number of newly listed prohibited firearms that have been taken out of circulation since 2020.

The federal police force says it has taken custody of a grand total of 2,123 such firearms, which have been surrendered, seized, or obtained through other processes.

The Liberal government declared in May 2020 that over 1,500 “assault-style” firearm models would now be prohibited, shortly after the mass shooting event in Portapique, Nova Scotia.

Since then, an additional 500 variants of firearms have been prohibited. Parliament also passed government Bill C-21 last December to create an evergreen definition of semi-automatic weapons to be banned if they are manufactured after the law came into force.
The recently released Commissioner of Firearms 2022 Report says there were 165,975 prohibited firearms registered to individuals or businesses in 2022, compared to 174,551 in 2020.
The federal government intends to purchase the previously restricted firearms from owners, and before doing so, an amnesty was put into place. The amnesty was set to expire on Oct. 30, but was extended last fall to Oct. 30, 2025, past the next planned federal election.
The RCMP provided the data on collected prohibited firearms on June 17 further to an order paper question from Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs. She asked for a breakdown of weapons that have been turned in, seized, confiscated, or obtained by other means, and whether they are in the possession of businesses or individuals.

The largest category involves seized firearms, in relation to either a “criminal investigation” (690) or “public safety” (412). Another 723 firearms were “surrendered,” and 258 are marked as “safekeeping.” Six firearms are also marked as having been “found” by individuals.

The RCMP did not indicate whether the seized firearms were legally owned.

The Smith & Wesson M&P 15, an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, is the firearm the RCMP took into custody in the largest quantity, with a count of 264, and by a sizeable margin.

Reached for an update on the buyback program, Public Safety Canada told The Epoch Times it is still in development.

“Engagement on this program continues with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous organizations, and a wide variety of stakeholders including industry representatives and police associations,” said spokesperson Max Watson.

The latest development involved Ottawa proposing in May new shipping regulations to allow businesses to send prohibited firearms via the mail. The plan is to first collect firearms from businesses before individuals.

Reacting to the RCMP data on collected prohibited firearms, gun control group PolySeSouvient said the over 1,000 weapons seized by police “shows the urgency of the buyback program.”

“This program was supposed to be completed by May 2022 but hasn’t even been rolled out yet,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights noted the absence of data on the seized firearms.

“It could be something simple as someone’s license expiring and they failed to renew and exhausted the grace period, or some other administrative process failure,” Vice-President for Public Relations Tracey Wilson told The Epoch Times in a statement.

Ms. Wilson said the focus should be on targeting illicit smuggling to stop guns used in crimes instead of going after legal gun owners with the “confiscation” buyback program.