The Canadian Sporting Arms & Ammunition Association’s Bill C71 Virtual Discussion
These regulations come into force at midnight on May 18th of 2022
Date of Virtual Discussion: Friday, May 13th 2022 at 1pm EST
Wes Winkel, President of the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association and owner of Ellwood Epps on the topic of Bill C71, coming into force May 18th, 2022.
The big change on the firearms level here is with every transfer of ownership you must do a background check, whereas you either log onto business web services from the RCMP or phone in and get what’s called a transaction number or a reference number to approve the transaction via the RCMP.
The easiest way to do that is to log into Business Web Services the same way you would for a restricted transfer now.
For those that currently do restricted transfers, the process is very similar.
You would log in and you type the individual license number or business number and the required information you are prompted to enter (date of birth that they used as security background number) and then it would produce the license holder’s information. You would confirm that is the correct person that you wish to have the transaction with.
A number will be generated, and that is your reference number confirming that you have done your background check.
The process online should be very quick (instant unless license flagged), and it is available to all Business Web Services subscribers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For all of us that do this on a regular basis, we know that the website is not always operational.
We have pushed the RCMP to improve their level of service. It’s come up in many conversations that the web services are down too often. They are aware of it. We have it in writing that they are going to work harder, to keep that service better, and up and running all the time.
For those that are not web savvy (or do not have access to high-speed internet), there is a phone-in option five days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM, your local time.
You will phone in and give the same information over the phone, and they will verbally give you a reference number.
That reference number is good for 90 days and is good for as many firearms in the non-restricted class that are purchase in 90 days, or for as little as you purchase.
(If the customer does not purchase a firearm, there’s no need to say that they didn’t use the reference number and the same goes for purchasing. They can buy one every day for 90 days or two every day, and that’s that number applies for all those transactions.)
You do not need to get a reference number for every transaction.
You do need to get a reference number for each individual person purchasing a non-restricted firearm.
The reference numbers are good for ONLY that buyer and ONLY that business location.
Each seller must get their own reference number for each buyer.
(Store A cannot use a number that was obtained by Store Z, and an individual can’t use that number to purchase anywhere else.)
You can only have one open reference number per buyer transaction, so we highly recommend that you establish a method to track who (which customer) has open reference numbers and who does not.
The reference number is something that must be recorded.
The record-keeping for this reference number system is a requirement of the law and that record must be obtained and accessible for 20 years.
That’s 13 years longer than any of us must keep tax records.
We do recommend that you try to source a good record-keeping system, whether it be digital or on paper.
It’s something that must be accessible for a long period of time. (20 years)
The record-keeping component of this does extend past the reference numbers, and what I mean by that is that any firearm that comes into your place of business for repairs or storage, must be recorded, and you must keep a record of that.
This includes the serial number of the firearm. That information does not need to go to the government in any way. It must be retained for your records only.
This information is only to be released if a production order or warrant is produced for its release.
That information is for your eyes only and for you to record only.
Keep in mind that you oversee personal data. You must do everything possible to ensure there are no security breaches, no matter what the situation things.
You must have a good security system in place.
If a firearm is being stored, gunsmithing or for repair, you have the record it.
That does not require a reference number.
These regulations come into force at midnight on May 18th of 2022. For every transaction that happens on and after May 18th, you must have that reference number in place.
The transfer date is not the date the firearm was purchased or ordered. It is the date that is taken possession of or shipped.
If you are shipping a firearm and the tracking number is started on/ if the buyer leaves your premises after midnight on May 18th, then you must get a reference number.
If the firearm is being shipped, the tracking number for a company that you’re using must be kept on record as well.
Again, that information is required to be stored for 20 years although most of those courier systems do not retain that information past six months.
However, the government still does have it in law, that is required to be recorded, along with the reference number, for that 20-year timeframe.
If you’re buying a firearm as a business from an individual. It is the same process.
It is the responsibility of the seller to obtain that reference number. You will be able to do this with the consumer through the business web services at the time that the customer/seller brings that firearm into your business to sell.
Again, the reference number is good for 90 days, for as many firearms from that seller to that buyer.
In the instance that the firearms are being loaned, a reference number is also required.
The next component of this bill is the new requirement for the photo capture of the license in the instance of mail-order firearms or online purchases.
It is a requirement, as of May 18th, that you physically see a picture of this license.
This can be uploaded to a system on your own database/website, e-mailed, faxed, texted, or passenger pigeon, you do need to see a copy of that firearms license, both front and back.
That copy needs to be viewed in relation to the reference number.
For the purposes of in-store, there is no requirement for secondary ID. You must have a secondary ID for anything, on mail order or online purchase.
It is recommended that you have a tracking system that you can store that information and identify that buyer.
It is a requirement that you verify that that license is valid when you see the picture.
Q: Does the firearms license have to be stored for 20 years? The image of it?
A: It does not need to be stored for 20 years. It must be recorded as viewed, but not stored for 20 years.
Q: Do shippers now have to have a valid firearms license?
A: In Canada, we do have licensed carriers. That is available on the Transport Canada website. Large carriers (UPS, DHL, and Loomis and Purolator) are licensed, and you can ship the firearms with those companies.
In reference to a small carrier that is not licensed as a business, or as a carrier, then they would, of course, must have an individual firearms license to carry.
Q: On purchasing a firearm from a customer, do we have to get that reference number at that point as well? Or is the customer responsible to get that reference number prior to the visit to the store?
A: Prior to the transfer taking place, the seller must obtain the reference number. You cannot obtain the reference number after the transfer.
Q: For export firearms, entering or leaving the country, are these regulations primarily driven toward domestic transfers occurring within Canada? To confirm, if a firearm is leaving or coming into the country… none of this would apply other than the record-keeping. The transfer reference number is not applicable?
A: Correct. The only real change, of course, is the recordkeeping, like you said. In the situation where you may be an importer: a lot of importers did not record the serial number at the time of import. For non-restricted firearms. The one change that would occur is: if you’re importing a large volume of non-restricted firearms, you are required to keep a record of those serial numbers.
Q: Regarding consignment firearms. Is there a permit required from our customer to pick up a consignment firearm, or is the onus on us to get the permit when we’re completing the transaction to a buyer?
A: Only when completing a transaction with a buyer. Similar to the firearm being dropped off to repair there is the requirement of the recordkeeping component. There is not a requirement of the reference number until the point of an ownership transfer, which again, would be when you sell the firearm.
Q: Are individuals really required to maintain this 20-year record as well as businesses?
Q: Does that change for us in Quebec? We already have a registry here for non-restricted. Will the CFO transfer all info over to Federal?
A: We will take this question under advisement to make sure that we get the proper answer do. We did have a conversation before the regulatory framework was there, but it was said that this will just be an additional record-keeping system. It was not going to be shared from the CFO to the Federal Government, but we will find out, for sure, to make sure that that’s still the case.
Q: We would need something tweaked for the French side in Quebec. (for record-keeping software). Can we ensure that French is an option once we investigate record-keeping software?
A: Absolutely. This did come up in conversation. We did ask the question for multiple languages, to be added to the business Web services, as well.
Q: You have an open reference number with “Gun Store A”, and then you decide that you want to go to “Gun Store B” to buy another gun… but you said you can’t have two open reference numbers. Is it just two open reference numbers with that one store?
A: Correct, yes.
Q: What is the record-keeping requirement for visual inspection of IDs/licenses?
A: Each CFO learned about this regulation at the same time as we did. We do expect that there’ll be some direction given by the CFO before Wednesday, May 18th as to how they want the records to be kept in each jurisdiction.
Keep in mind that that will be different across the country as there are independent CFOs operating in each province of Canada.
Q: For firearms already in our possession, do we need to now generate a record of all non-restricted firearms already in possession to initiate the first record of entry? Even though we already have them.
A: A record of all the non-restricted Firearms that are already in your possession should be recorded. A reference number is only required for new transfers of after May 18th at midnight.
Comment: I think we could work together to have some sort of fraud prevention collaboration. I think everybody is getting targeted by both credit card and firearms fraud. We can share that information between the businesses, although we are competing for business, I think we’re, we should compete against fraud together.
Response: A great idea. Credit card fraud is a large problem for all businesses involved, so it’s a great idea.
Q: Has anybody given any thought to the Privacy Act? This information surely will fall under the Privacy Act. Businesses already keep this information, but for individuals, there is going to be an onus on everybody to keep this information. Business or individual.
A: Absolutely and that’s one of the largest contention components that we had for the way this regulation was being rolled out. We let the department of Public Safety. They immediately deferred that back to the CFOs. The lawyers at the individual firearms offices are examining the Privacy Act and trying to draft the regulation and what they want to see for record-keeping components inside their jurisdiction.
Q: As a warranty center, when customers send guns in for warranty, do they need to transfer (reference) number before they send it into us?
A: It (reference number) is not required for firearms that come in for repair.
Q: Firearms that we are replacing (through warranty) would count as a sale, and we need the two pieces of ID for it?
A: Correct. The same for the transfer of the potentially defective firearm coming into your business. Even if it’s coming in for destruction (deactivation) it would also need a number from the seller, which should be the individual to you. You would then need to collect both pieces of ID and get a reference number.
Q: Are those regulations mirrored in the business-to-business transactions, whereas there are photos of licenses and secondary pieces. The majority of these transactions are phone calls.
A: The reference number portion is only and is valid for the 90-day period still.
Q: For warranty, you are required to take the firearm detail, Is that correct?
A: Yes, the record-keeping component for repairs is the same as incoming purchases. You have the record, the serial number, making the model, and the license of the owner.
Q: On incoming purchasing firearms or trades, the seller, which would be the customer who walks into the store, must obtain a reference number, but he doesn’t have access to the online web service… say this happens in an evening, or on a Saturday or Sunday? When does that have to be done on a Monday morning when the guy’s gone?
A: The requirement is that the reference number must be obtained prior to the transfer. So again, it can’t be done retroactively. The business web portals, we have been assured, will be open for that. This portal will not be available until the day before this comes into force. Tuesday, May 17th.
Q: Regarding purchasing an estate. In the case that the owner is deceased. His PAL has expired. How do we handle something like that?
A: In the absence of a firearms license, it would have to be done by phone.
Q: For business to business. What takes place for the date of birth in the business-to-business system, or will there be a separate portal for business-to-business?
A: There will be a separate portal for business to business.
Q: Is that going to be the same as we currently do for restricted transfers?
A: My understanding is going to be the same ID, as what we do currently for the restricted transfer. You type in the name and the contact number of the person you dealt with, but I don’t believe it’s a verifiable component.
Q: When you apply for the transfer, I’ve heard that no additional information is required. I also heard that I would have to enter the make, model, serial number, and everything else.
A: We have been assured that there will be firearm information input into the non-restricted portion of the system.
Q: You said that we need to verify a picture ID, we’re not required to store this info, but if a customer places an order within 30 days (of obtaining a reference number). Do we need to check that ID again? The ID needs to be checked at every single transaction, correct?
A: Yes. It doesn’t specify that. It says prior to the transfer that you must obtain this copy. So, there’s no exemption that we can see that would say that you did not have to get it again.
Q: Regarding Layaway. If an order is placed before May 18th deadline, but the layaway is over a few months and is being fulfilled after the new laws come into effect. We process the transaction for the new laws?
A: It has to be at the time of transfer of ownership, IE, the day it is shipped or the day it is picked up. We had this clarification on the May 1st OIC as well. The transfer date is the date that firearm is physically shipped or picked up.
Q: Is there any change for us in terms of buying stuff out of the US?
A: This is domestic transfer, only. Of course, there is the requirement for the record keeping component so you have to record your serial numbers of incoming guns.
Q: What repercussions if data gets lost? If we have a fire, if my computer crashes next week?
A: The onus, of course, is on your any business to make sure that they maintain the Privacy Act, and to maintain the privacy of their customers, as well as not to have any data breaches. As far as a criminal component it would have to be deemed negligence. So, we can’t emphasize enough to increase the security of your data storage system.
Q: When shipping a to the buyer and keeping track of the tracking number and the shipper. How’s everyone going about storing that data? How are you going to store that information and verify that you’ve done?
A: Well, the shipment tracking number is a requirement now to be stored, along with the reference number. So whichever way you’re storing the reference number, I would assume you store the tracking information the same way. Everyone has different software components and some people are still using even paper ledgers. It would depend on how you’re planning to store the reference number that the tracking number would be started in a similar manner.
Q: We don’t need to record images in store, right?
A: Yeah, you have to visually see in-store or in-person transactions, but mail order or in the event that you cannot see it in store, it has to be captured, either by digital method or by physical mail portal.
Q2: So we can have a picture of their PAL uploaded on an online purchase, the second portion of ID, that would be a driver’s license, and that would need to be an image as well?
A2: Correct, an image as well.
Q: For reference numbers, for warranty firearms, if a gun needs to be replaced, does the reference number I already have open with that business cover it both ways, or would that store need to get a reference number for that warranty replacement as well?
A: Correct. You can not have the reference number cover two-way transactions, so, it’s for 1 buyer 1 seller. So, he or she would need to obtain one for their business to go to you for the firearm coming in for either destruction or replacement, and then you would need to have one for them for the outgoing firearm going back.
Q2: Would pursuing two-way kind of reference numbers for the business-to-business transactions… is that a road that we can go down to kind of streamline our business to business operations?
A2: We suggested that when they passed the Bill, but unfortunately, the bill does require you to have individual ones for each other, and each buyer.