The Government of Canada has made amendments (Bill C-71) to Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, including amendments to the Firearms Act, the Criminal Code and the Regulations. Bill C-71 was passed in June, 2019 but has not come into effect. In June of this year, the Government posted the regulations that would bring Bill C-71 into effect. Some of the regulations, including changes to the automatic Authorization to Transport (ATT) of restricted and prohibited firearms that apply to individual licence holders, took effect on July 7, 2021.
Now in effect
Lifetime Background Checks
Background checks for a firearms licence have now been expanded to include review of an applicant’s entire life history, rather than just the previous five years. Lifetime background checks will now be done on all applications submitted by individuals. No action is required on the part of firearms licence applicants and there is no need to resubmit applications if they were submitted prior to July 7, 2021.
Authorization to Transport restricted and prohibited firearms
Two (2) transportation provisions remain as a condition of a licence, which are to/from a range or home after a purchase as of July 28, 2021. Individuals will now need to request an Authorization to Transport from their CFO to transport restricted and prohibited firearms to and from a:
- business for repair or appraisal
- gun show
- port of entry or exit
- peace officer, firearms officer or CFO for verification, registration or disposal
Coming this fall
Regulations affecting business owners including licence verification and record keeping have been posted for public comment and are scheduled to come into effect in September this year.
The CSAAA was asked by the Government for feedback on the regulations as written and provided the following response:
Dear Public Safety,
Given the lack of pre-consultation and no information on the processes and resources that will be allocated to the implementation and ongoing administration of these regulations, the CSAAA, on behalf of its members, is unable at this time to provide any productive consultation.
The regulations impose considerable obligations on the Government to receive information in a timely manner from members of the sporting arms business community, analyze that information accurately, compare that information to existing Government information related to firearms owners, and following evaluation, provide accurate and complete responses to businesses in a timely and clear manner.
Much of the Government’s ability to fulfill its obligations under the new Regulations is dependent upon the provision of necessary Government resources and a willingness to cooperate and communicate with members of the business community. Given historical and ongoing issues associated with the lack of resources provided to the administration of the restricted firearm program we must express serious reservations regarding the effective implementation of the new regulation regime and we anticipate considerable delays, confusion, and inaccuracy in the early stages of implementation followed by ongoing delays in response from the Government in a manner that will negatively impact businesses.
In order to provide any constructive feedback, the CSAAA would require a detailed explanation or demonstration of the licence verification process, a detailed description of the record-keeping inspection process in addition to a complete and detailed list of all activities which require recording. We simply don’t have enough information to comment at this time.
The following is for information purposes only. Based on an initial review of the very limited information in the draft regulations here is an overview of the compliance requirements that would affect business owners.
The changes require the person (including a corporation) wishing to transfer non-restricted firearms to now verify the validity of the license of an individual prior to transfer and to maintain a record of the transfer for 20 years.
The transferor must verify the transferee’s eligibility with the Registrar of Firearms prior to completing the transfer. Verification is confirmed by the provision by the Registrar to the transferor of a reference number valid for a prescribed period of time (90 days is proposed).
Verification – Transfers to Individuals
(a) Online transfers:
A photocopy of the license should be transmitted electronically.
The address for shipping should be provided and it must be verified that the address for shipping is identical to the address provided on the license. In that absence of the ability to physically determine the identity of the transferee a second piece of government issued identification with photograph, both front and back, should be transmitted electronically with the firearms license. A copy of the secondary identification should be kept with the license.
Credit card information for the purchase should be reviewed and maintained. The address for the credit card should match the address for the license. If it does not, an inquiry should be made of the transferee why the credit card information does not match. All of the foregoing should be maintained in a form of record that may be maintained for 20 years.
(b) In person transfers:
Each business must request the license of the transferee. The transferor must view the information on the license and by visual examination of the individual present confirm the transferee’s identity as the license holder. If in doubt, a second piece of government issue identification with photograph must be provided by the transferee.
Either Paper or Electronic Records are permissible. No requirements as to format of information, in either paper or electronic versions, is specified.
In respect to business inventory of all firearms:
Firearms businesses would keep records which describe each firearm in their possession, and record activities related to each firearm, the date on which these activities are performed, and their disposal, as follows:
- a) Manufacturer, make, model, type of firearm, classification, action, gauge or caliber, barrel length, magazine capacity (in the case of a fixed magazine), and all serial numbers found on the frame and receiver.
- b) Manufacture, importation, exportation, purchase, alteration, repair, storage, exhibition, deactivation, destruction, sale, barter, donation, consignment, pawn, or any other category related to the possession or disposal of the firearm, and the date on which the change occurred;
- c) The name of the shipper, their permit number or carrier licence number, and the reference number, if the shipper is different from the business keeping the records.
Businesses would be required to retain the possession and disposal records for 20 years from the record’s creation.
In respect of a transfer of a non-restricted firearm the following information must be recorded and stored for 20 years:
- a) the reference number issued by the Registrar;
- b) the day on which the reference number was issued;
- c) the transferee’s license number, and
- d) the firearm’s make, model and type and, if any, its serial number.
A copy of the new regulations can be found here: https://parl.ca/Content/Bills/421/Government/C-71/C-71_4/C-71_4.PDF