Winkel responds to new firearms legislation

The Federal Liberal government has introduced its new legislation to tighten the control and licensing of firearms, but according to CSAAA board of directors’ president Wes Winkel, Bill C-71 in many ways is much ado about nothing.

“Have you ever gone to the doctor for testing and they ask you to drink that big pink liquid? You feel like you will have trouble swallowing it and you’ll be full of gas? Well, that’s a metaphor for this,” Winkel said. “We are dealing with many different facets here, but breaking it down, there are several things that don’t equate.”

Under the new legislation, companies that sell firearms will be required to keep detailed records of firearm sales, as well as firearm purchasers. These records will not be shared with the government on a regular basis, however they will be available to the police via a judicial warrant if deemed necessary.

The new law also means increased background checks for the acquisition of licenses, including the “life history” of a purchaser – including their mental state and behaviour. Vendors will also have to verify the validity of a purchaser’s license with the Canadian Firearms program before completing the transaction.

The new regulations also mean firearms owners have to obtain formal authorizations to bring restricted and prohibited firearms – including handguns – to gunshows or a gunsmith. Classification of firearms does not change under the new legislation – non-restricted, restricted or prohibited – but the governing council now has jurisdiction to determine the classification of firearms without political interference.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stated: “With this legislation and other measures, we are taking concrete steps to make our country less vulnerable to the scourge of gun violence, while being fair to responsible, law-abiding firearm owners and businesses.”

Winkel contends that in many ways, the new rules contradict this point and simply don’t equate. “Just taking my business hat off here, in many ways this lowers the trust in your government when they prohibit firearms and you haven’t done anything wrong. And in a lot of cases, many of the things they are asking vendors to do here are already an industry standard.”

And as far as the CSAAA is concerned, having “big brother” watching every aspect of record keeping won’t lead to a more efficient or functional industry. Winkel used a recent example where the chief firearms officer visited a gun shop. He deemed the store’s record keeping was not up to par, and he subsequently removed the vendor’s firearms vending license. Yet, there was no proof the firearms had found their way into a criminal situation or that the store was a public safety concern.

“They simple said this location was too messy and ordered it to close up shop. This was A insulting but B dangerous. It might be the intent of the current government to regulate what is already an industry standard, but now that those parameters are in place, they subsequently could determine things aren’t up to snuff because there are stricter rules in place. It takes the onus of responsibility away from the government and places it solely on the vendor. And now, all firearm businesses will do is comply with the law – they may not use their own detection methods to make sure firearms aren’t going the wrong way – processes which may have been far more stringent.”

Another murky point, Winkel maintains, is the concept of license validity. “We as businesses can attest what the magic keywords are – city of birth for example. That sounds like a simple thing, but the problem is some people are born out of the country, there are spelling errors, there are language difficulties . . . these create issues for registration. Also, what happens when the registration Web site in down for maintenance for several hours? So, a guy drives hours to pick up his firearm, and no, he can’t pick it up? This just doesn’t make sound business sense. We are in an industry where things can’t be made more difficult with process.”

Background checks are another issue. If taken at face value, the regulation is very open to interpretation, Winkel said. “So, if you have been treated for a mental illness – if you have been diagnosed for depression and are being treated for example – and you have had a violent incident in your past, even though those two things might not coincide, there is a lot of danger there,” he noted. “You may have been in fight when you were 20 and were charged with assault, but now you are a 60-year-old man with depression and are being treated for it . . . the two things have nothing to do with each other. But because it meets the new key points, you may lose your license. And now, because licenses are tied with possession in the firearms act, you have to get rid of your guns – you can’t keep them in your home.

“The last thing the Canadian Mental Health Association wants is people to be scared to talk to their doctor about having a mental health issue. But this is what is going to happen if you are a gun collector. If you talk about, you will lose your guns. Gun owners will be scared to get treatment. And frankly. . . that’s ridiculous.”

Now that new regulations are firmly in place, Winkel hopes the Federal government will continue to work with the CSAAA and industry leaders before any future decisions are made regarding the Canadian firearms industry.

– Matt Nicholls, special to the CSAAA

CSSA President Steve Torino testifies on Bill C-47

OTTAWA, ON, November 8, 2017--Steve Torino, President of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) recently testified before the Foreign Affairs Standing Committee on Bill C-47.

Bill C-47 is a legislative package that will enable the government of Canada to enter the Arms Trade Treaty. According to Tony Bernardo, Executive Director of the CSSA, C-47 codifies a number of practices the Canadian government has been doing for years but opens the door to the possibility the United Nations could be used as an excuse to resurrect the extinct Long Gun Registry.

CSSA brought its concerns to the federal government. CSSA President, Steve Torino, testified to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to outline the concerns its membersh have regarding the implementation of this bill and more importantly, the error of entering the Arms Trade Treaty.


Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Mr. Steve Torino (President, Canadian Shooting Sports Association): Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of this committee for inviting me to comment on Bill C-47 and to answer any questions I can in this regard. I would also like to present some relevant background information which may be pertinent to this bill.

I am president of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, and I chaired the Firearms Advisory Committee for the Liberal government from 1996 to 2006, and co-chaired the Firearms Advisory Committee for the Conservative government from 2006 to 2014. I was also an advisor to the Canadian delegation to the United Nations on the Arms Trade Treaty and related programs from 2006 to 2014.

The Arms Trade Treaty covers not only conventional arms used in conflicts, but civilian legal arms, ammunition and related parts and accessories as well. Since Bill C-47 contains amendments to the Export and Import Permits Act, allowing the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty, it should be stated that Canada is basically a nation of importers of these products, and that any amendments to current policies and practices can have an impact on this $5 billion per year industry and its clients - the end-user.

CSSA members are concerned with possible negative effects from the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and Bill C-47, including a possible curtailment of exports to Canada of currently available civilian firearms, ammunition and related parts and accessories. Canada’s annual imports of civilian firearms, ammunition, parts, and accessories exceeds $400 million as per Statistics Canada. In addition, there is concern in the firearms community of a possible return to a firearm and ammunition registry, alluded to in Article 12 of the Treaty.

The inclusion of brokering into Bill C-47 appears to be a major amendment to the Export and Import Permits Act and the Criminal Code. To the best of our knowledge, there are no illegal brokers operating in Canada who would be affected by this amendment, and all legal brokers in our opinion are in compliance with Canadian standards. So the thought arises as to what events and subsequent consultations have occurred in this regard which would lead to this amendment.

Canada’s rules regarding the import and export of conventional arms and small arms and light weapons already exceed the ATT guidelines. Canada’s practices for export are well-established. Canada’s import and export controls exceed UN treaty requirements and are in line with those of our principal allies and partners in the major export controls regimes. It is our experience that Canada’s export controls officials are very involved in analyzing each proposed transfer.

Much of the balance of Bill C-47 seems to refer to codifying current policies and practices or creating modifications thereto.

Current world conflicts raise questions as to the efficacy of the controls in the Arms Trade Treaty, when a myriad of weapons appear in the hands of insurgents who are labelled as undesirable to peace in the affected regions. As well, the source of such weapons used in the present series of “terrorist” attacks worldwide pose similar queries.

The current Arms Trade Treaty was supposed to be passed by consensus. Yet when the consensus could not be reached in April of 2013, it was passed by simple majority vote in the UN General Assembly. And in its current version, section 20 of the Arms Trade Treaty clearly states that any future changes to the treaty will be passed by a 75% majority of the state parties present for the vote.

This simple majority vote by the state parties could change Canada’s current working policies, putting decisions in the hands of state parties, who, in some cases, have serious conflict issues of their own, and who could possibly interpret any proposed changes to the Arms Trade Treaty in the light of their own issues. This interpretation could, and possibly might, have some unintended and unwanted consequences for Canada, since our controls far exceed those of most state parties.

When Canada enters this treaty, and I gather it will, we would be subject to any changes made by other nations without much say on our part in the final outcome. This can be viewed as not necessarily the best situation to maintain our decision-making abilities in a sovereign Canada.

It is our recommendation to include language in Bill C-47 that would remove the spectre of this legislation creating a future firearm registry, in keeping with the commitments of this government.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Firearms Marking Regulation deferred until December 2018

OTTAWA, May 19, 2017 /CNW/ - The existing Firearms Marking Regulations under the Firearms Act, scheduled to come into force on June 1, 2017, are being deferred to December 1, 2018. The deferral will provide the time required to propose amendments to the Regulations in order to achieve their intended purpose, which is to help improve public safety by facilitating the ability of law enforcement to trace the criminal use of firearms.

Detailed information regarding the deferral will be available in the May 31, 2017 edition of the Canada Gazette Part II. For information regarding firearms requirements in Canada, please contact the Canadian Firearms Program at 1-800-731-4000.

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SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

For further information: Scott Bardsley, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657,


CSAAA UPDATE-Canadian Firearms Marking Regulation

PETERBOROUGH, ON, March 28 – On June 1st, 2017 the Canadian Firearms Marking Regulation under Bill C-10A will come into effect. The current regulation, as written, requires all firearms (as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada) imported into the country be marked “by permanently stamping or engraving on the firearm’s frame or receiver the word “Canada” or the letters “CA” and (a) in the case of a manufactured firearm, the name of the manufacturer and the firearm’s serial number; and (b) in the case of an imported firearm, the last two digits of the year of the importation.”

The markings must be made before the 60th day after its release as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Customs Act* or before transferring the firearm, whichever occurs first.

The purpose of the regulation is to meet the recommendation of the UN Firearms Protocol, a non-binding treaty to which Canada is a signatory. Once Canada has passed a gun marking regulation, it will be able to ratify this treaty.

The purpose of the UN Firearms Protocol is to stem the flow of illegal firearms around the world, specifically small arms that are turning up in conflict zones. The protocol provides a number of recommendations that would enable countries to trace the import and export of firearms within their own countries and would enable authorities around the world to trace the source of illegal weapons back to the country legally responsible for them.

The Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association (CSAAA) - which represents legitimate firearms business owners including manufacturers, distributors, wholesales and retailers in Canada – fully supports the fight against illegal arms trafficking both domestically and globally. After all, as legally operating, responsible business owners, our members have a vested interest in identifying and preventing illegal sales which only serve to detract from our revenues as businesses and make us unsafe as citizens.

However, the Canadian Firearms Regulation as it is currently written, has several flaws. It has incorporated some of the UN Firearms Protocol recommendations that were written for countries with far less regulation than Canada already has in place. This poorly crafted regulation will result in cost increases to importers that could see the price of individual firearms increase but as much as $200; will cause safety concerns significant enough that some foreign manufacturers will not honor their warranties in Canada; may permanently damage the finish on imported firearms; and cause workplace safety concerns for importers with little or no manufacturing experience.

The regulation requires that all firearms imported into Canada bear the name of the “manufacturer” and the firearm’ serial number and be marked with a country code and year of import, or “CA17” within 60 days of the firearm being released from customs or before being transferred beyond the importers.

A “manufacturer” in Canadian law is the actual manufacturing facility where the firearm was produced, not the responsible marketing and distributing company. So, for example, a firearm imported into Canada could not be marked by the brand “Browning” it would have to bear the name of the manufacturing plant where it was made.

The regulation then requires that the firearm be “stamped or engraved” with the country code and year of import, or “CA17” for example, after being released from customs and before being transferred by the original importer. This means importers, with no manufacturing facilities or experience, will now be in the business of setting up, staffing and operating laser engraving shops. The firearms cannot be transferred to existing engraving facilities to be marked and we have not been able to identify and large engraving facilities in Canada that are willing to go through the onerous and expensive process of becoming firearms licensed.

Many of Canada’s small importers will be forced out of business under this new regulation. They will simply not be able to afford the capital investment required to meet the regulation’s requirements.

Consumers are likely to see less choice and pay higher prices for firearms in Canada. This will inevitable have a negative impact on smaller retailers which will also be forced out of business.

The CSAAA has met with the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Ralph Goodale’s, staff to present an effective and reasonable solution to this issue. We have recommended to the Minister’s staff that the regulation be re-worded to require all firearms imported into Canada be marked with the “Make” and the firearm’s unique serial number. We have demonstrated to the Minister’s staff that with the Make and serial number, any firearm anywhere in the world can be traced with one call to the brand company. Using the serial number, the responsible corporate brand can trace a firearm from it’s point of manufacture, through it’s exporter, to its importer and ultimately through the importer to the retailer.

With the simple codification of Canada’s current industry practice, Canada can pass a firearms marking regulation that achieves the stated goals of the UN Firearms Protocol with no detrimental affects on the hundreds of small businesses in the sporting arms industry.

We presented our solution to the Minister’s policy staff at a meeting on January 23rd, 2017. This position has been supported by some of our largest firearms trading partners.

It is our belief that the Minister’s staff is still in the process of considering the final wording of the regulation; but we have had no response to our calls for updates, information or direction. The Minister’s staff have been silent since January 23rd.

CSAAA members representing some of Canada’s largest importers have confirmed that they will not move forward on any capital investment in engraving capacity until they receive clear direction from the Government.

We continue to press the Minister’s office for information and direction. While we cannot advise individual businesses on a course of action, we can recommend that retailers prepare for a transition period of some kind starting in June by stocking up on inventory. Whatever the outcome, it’s going to be a bumpy ride for the next few months.

We encourage business owners to get in touch with your local Member of Parliament, the Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister to voice your support for a regulation that requires a “make and serial number” as proposed by the CSAAA. Links to sample letters are included below for your reference. Or email us your message and we’ll forward to the Minister on your behalf, type “Message for the Minister of Public Safety” in the subject box.

The CSAAA will continue to work with the Government to craft a responsible regulation that effectively combats illegal arms trading while protecting the thousands of Canadian jobs and hundreds of small businesses associated with the legal, responsible sporting arms industry in Canada.

For more information, please contact us.

Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association



 (1) In this Act, release means
(a) in respect of goods, to authorize the removal of the goods from a customs office, sufferance warehouse, bonded warehouse or duty free shop for use in Canada, and
(b) in respect of goods to which paragraph 32(2)(b) applies, to receive the goods at the place of business of the importer, owner or consignee;
Release prior to accounting
32 (2) In prescribed circumstances and under prescribed conditions, goods may be released prior to the accounting required under subsection (1) if
 (b) the goods have been authorized by an officer or by any prescribed means for delivery to, and have been received at, the place of business of the importer, owner or consignee of the goods.