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Mendicino to Ban Most Semi-Auto Rifles and Shotguns

Public Safety Marco Mendicino today announced new amendments to Bill C-21 that would, if passed, would add a definition of “prohibited firearm” to the Criminal Code.

“The amendments will include a standard technical definition, which contain the physical characteristics of an assault-style firearm,” Minister Mendicino said. “This definition, which would apply going forward, would be inserted into the criminal code. It provides the clarity that gun owners and industry leaders need and the protection.”

Mendicino went to great pains to say he was just following the recommendations of others.

“All of these steps align with the recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission’s final report.”

Those recommendations had nothing to do with the Nova Scotia killer’s actions and nothing in the report or these amendments would have prevented that killer from obtaining the illegal guns he used to commit many of his atrocities.


Prohibit All Semi-Automatic Firearms with Detachable Magazines

Amend subsection 84(1) of the Criminal Code definition of “prohibited firearm” to add a prospective, technical definition:

  • A firearm that is not a handgun and that
  • Discharges centre fire ammunition;
  • In a semi-automatic manner; and
  • Was originally designed with a detachable magazine with a capacity of six cartridges or more


More Confusion, Not Clarity

This new definition would NOT be retro-active. It would only apply to firearms designed and manufactured after Bill C-21 comes into force.

What happens if you are pulled over while in possession of a centre-fire firearm purchased prior to this definition coming into force?

Police forces are already challenged to know what category a firearm falls into under the current classification system. Adding a date component only further muddies the waters for law enforcement.

It’s possible that police would charge you and let the courts sort it out – in essence using the process as the punishment.


3D-Printed and “Ghost Guns”

“These amendments will make it a criminal offence to make an illegal ghost gun either by buying firearm parts or by using 3D technology,” Mendicino said.

The government amendments to Bill C-21 would also add illegally-manufactured firearms – presumably to focus on 3D-printed firearms and other “ghost guns” – to the definition of “prohibited firearms.”

Further, these amendments would define “firearm part” to include barrels and slides for handguns.


Magazine Restrictions

  • Require the permanent alteration of long-gun magazines so they can never hold more than five rounds; and (permanent modification)
  • Ban the sale or transfer of magazines capable of holding more than the legal number of bullets.


Respects Aboriginal Treaty Rights

The government says the provisions of Bill C-21 and these amendments uphold the Aboriginal and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples, recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and does not abrogate or derogate them.


New Firearms Advisory Committee

“Now of course, there’s more work to be done,” Mendicino continued. “That’s why we will be reconstituting the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee to provide expert nonpartisan advice to the government on how we classify firearms.”

Will this committee include industry experts and member associations like the CSSA?

We don’t know, however given Minister Mendicino’s repeated public expressions of gratitude to Polysesouvient and Danforth Families for Safer Communities, it is unlikely to permit representation from ordinary Canadians or the groups who represent their interests.



We will break down all these changes and how they would affect you in this week’s commentary. Watch for all the details in our next CSSA eNEWS.


For More Information, Contact:

Tony Bernardo, Executive Director
Canadian Shooting Sports Association

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