Justin Trudeau repeatedly claimed he would not recreate a “long-gun registry.”
Instead, Trudeau forced gun stores to create it for him through Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms.[i]
That new long gun registry comes into effect on May 18, 2022, via two new Orders in Council.[ii] Those OiCs bring sections 5, 7, 9 to 11, subsections 13(12) and (3) and section 14 of Bill C-71 into force.
Until the regulations are published, presumably before May 18th, it’s impossible to know how or even if this hare-brained Liberal scheme will work.
Here’s what we know so far.
Criminals Need Not Apply
These regulations apply only to Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) holders.
Drug dealers, gang members and violent criminals, including those under a Firearms Prohibition Order, may still buy, sell, trade and lend their illegal guns without notifying any government agency, including the Registrar of Firearms.
Private Sales, Trades, Gifts and Lending
Both the seller and buyer of a Non-Restricted firearm (rifles and shotguns) must obtain permission from the RCMP Registrar of Firearms before a firearm may transferred.
“The transferee shall provide to the transferor the prescribed information that relates to the transferee’s licence, for the purpose of enabling the transferor to request that the Registrar issue a reference number for the transfer.”[iii]
The government has not defined the scope of this “prescribed information.” We know it includes, but is not limited to:
- the reference number issued by the RCMP Registrar of Firearms
- the day on which the reference number was issued
- the transferor’s licence number
- the transferee’s licence number
- the firearm’s make, model and type and, if any, its serial number
The phrase “information that relates to the transferee’s licence” is open-ended, and until the regulations are made public, we don’t know what additional information will be required.
Retail Firearm Sales
Firearm retailers must create, manage and maintain a gun registry that includes detailed information about licensed buyers of “Non-Restricted” firearms, including the make, model and serial number of the firearm they purchased, as noted above.[iv]
Firearm retailers must keep these records for at least 20 years, and the Minister may demand an even longer timeframe.
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 mean this data belongs to the government, not gun stores, and when data about firearms and firearms owners is de facto owned by the government, it’s a gun registry.
The government, via Bill C-71, puts firearm retailers over a barrel and forces them to create, pay for and maintain Justin Trudeau’s new “not a gun registry” long gun registry.
A Connections/Relationship Registry
Bill C-71 creates both a gun registry (one in every firearm retailer, in fact) and a personal connections registry. This is one its most invasive and sinister elements.
The RCMP will know who is in contact with whom to legally buy, sell or transfer firearms, whether the transfer is completed or not.
Over time, the RCMP will know which PAL holders are in contact with one another, allowing them to build a complex relationship grid of PAL holders and the firearms they buy, sell and trade.
Most gun shows happen on weekends when the Registrar of Firearms is closed. It’s already a problem to get firearms transferred on weekends, and this problem will only get worse under the new regulations.
- Will gun owners be able to sell firearms at a gun show after May 18th?
- Will the RCMP and/or provincial police be at gun shows to facilitate firearm transfers for buyers and sellers? If so, will they have the authority to act as Registrar of Firearms at these events?
The answer to these questions is unclear until the regulations are made public, something that the government says will happen “in the coming days.” [v]
Other Unanswered Questions
- What are the criteria for the Licence Verification to be approved or denied?
- We know all Licence Verifications are entered into a database to track individual firearm owner activity, but who keeps this Licence Verification activity data, for what purpose, and how long will it be retained?
- Is Licence Verification data attached to an individual’s licence? If so, who can access it?
- What is the start-up cost and annual operating cost for the Licence Verification system?
- How will this work for business-to-business firearm sales?
- Will the RCMP Registrar of Firearms business line provide this number?
- Will there be a feature on the business web service to issue the numbers?
- Who is authorized to demand this registry information from businesses and under what authority?
- How will the government deal with the myriad Privacy Act implications of holding and divulging this data?
Notably, the RCMP’s Bill C-71 page is completely silent about the coming into force of these sections of Bill C-71.[vi]
More to Come
As soon as these new regulations for Bill C-71 are made public, we will examine them and determine if the government bothered to take any of these questions and concerns into account.
We fear we already know the answer…
[iv] https://parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-71/royal-assent Section 58.1