Nullified: make legally null and void; invalidate.
Revocation: the official cancellation of a decree, decision, or promise.
Late last week, a letter from the RCMP began landing in the mailboxes of gun owners across the country. It arrived in a plain envelope and stated the following:
Firearm Registration Certificate Impacted by the
Amended Classification Regulations
“Certain restricted firearms which were registered to you have been affected by the recent regulatory amendments. These firearms, listed below, are now classified as prohibited and the previous registration certificates are automatically nullified and are therefore no longer valid but should be retained as a historical registration record.”
First, this is not a revocation letter as defined in the Firearms Act. This is just another notice that you possess firearms prohibited by the May 1st gun ban by Order in Council. Nothing more.
There may be no ability to file a Section 74 reference hearing based on the RCMP’s latest missive.
It seems the reason the RCMP did not mention the legal option of challenging this notice or invoking the 30-day window of opportunity to do so is because… wait for it… this letter is not a revocation notice.
- Firearms Act Subsection 72(1) states that when the Registrar revokes a registration certificate, the Registrar shall give you notice in the prescribed form.
- Subsection 72(2) also states that the notice must include reasons for the decision and must be accompanied by a copy of sections 74 to 81 of the Firearms Act, which describes the appeal process in a case a certificate is revoked.
- To clarify, if the Registrar wants to revoke your registration certificate, he must give you notice, in proper form, including a reproduction of the sections of the Firearms Act that explain how to appeal the decision. Because the Registrar did not follow this required format, the nullification letters appear to be invalid.
By characterizing Registration Certificate Numbers as “no longer valid” instead of issuing a Registration Certificate Revocation Notice, the RCMP is playing a game of trickery.[i]
They’re attempting to cheat us of our longstanding legal recourse to challenge their actions as specified in Section 74 of the Firearms Act.
74 (1) Subject to subsection (2), where
(a) a chief firearms officer or the Registrar refuses to issue or revokes a licence, registration certificate, authorization to transport, authorization to export or authorization to import…
the applicant for or holder of the licence, registration certificate, authorization or approval may refer the matter to a provincial court judge in the territorial division in which the applicant or holder resides.
It’s déjà vu all over again.
This is not the first time the RCMP has played this game of deceit with gun owners.
“I ran into this during the 12(6) handgun issue 18 years ago,” said Ed Burlew LL.B., one of the foremost experts in Canadian firearms law.
“I took this issue to Federal Court and won.[ii] The Court ordered the Registrar of Firearms to issue Revocation notices for every ‘invalid’ registration certificate for owner of 12(6) handguns who purchased their firearms between February 1995 and December 1, 1998. That caused quite an upset at the Registrar’s Office. The registrar had to issue thousands of the Revocation Letters and the owners filed for Section 74 hearings, as is their right under the Firearms Act.”
More importantly, a legal principle was upheld and the decision set a legal precedent. After Mr. Burlew’s win, due process of law was followed.
Ultimately, those Section 74 hearings were unsuccessful, he said, and the court determined the Certificates were indeed invalid.[iii]
The end result this time may be the same as it was then, but we won’t know until a judge rules on the status of the RCMP’s letter.
Is it a valid Firearms Registration Certificate Revocation or not?
Only a federal court judge can say for sure.
“The ‘official’ description of your Registration Certificate is ‘Administratively Expired’ which is not the same as revoked. This letter merely informs you the Registration Certificate is no longer valid,” Burlew said.
And while your current Registration Certificate is no longer valid, the RCMP also cannot issue a replacement Registration Certificate under the firearm’s new Prohibited classification for two reasons:
- There is no “grandfathering” section in our current firearm classification system to hold these newly-prohibited firearms. Legislation is required to create those new 12(x) classifications to allow grandfathering of current owners.
- Current owners of these newly-prohibited firearms are not eligible to own Prohibited-class firearms because they do not hold a valid Registration Certificate for those firearms – even if the classification existed, which it doesn’t.
It’s a slimy and deceitful Catch-22 for gun owners – brought to you by the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Centre and your federal Liberal government.
Until legislation is passed to resolve this (and many other) issues arising from the May 1st gun ban by Order in Council, these freshly Prohibited firearms are “safe queens.”
They cannot be used.
They cannot be transported.
They must sit in your gun safe until the government passes legislation allowing you to move them to the police for destruction and possible compensation – if compensation is ever offered.
At this point, compensation for government confiscation of your property is a worthless Justin Trudeau promise. It’s nothing we can take to the bank, even though this latest RCMP letter, just like the first letter and its website, talks about compensation as though it’s a done deal.
The RCMP must stop playing fiddler for Liberal Party sloganeering.
In a country where the rule of law held any importance at all, the RCMP would stick to the facts, not speculate about what a politician may or may not do at some future date.
But that’s an entirely different commentary, and one we will get to shortly.
1: Do NOT get rid of your firearms based on this RCMP letter.
2: Understand that filing a Section 74 reference hearing may be a waste of your time. There may be no opportunity to do so until you receive a real revocation or the 2-year amnesty is close to expiring. There is no 30-day window imposed by your receipt of this letter.
3: Support the two legal challenges the CSSA identified that give our community its best opportunity to strike down this gun ban by Order in Council.
4: Enjoy quality time your family and friends.
5: Enjoy the shooting sports as best you can with the aforementioned family and friends.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and the CSSA will ensure the very most is made of every opportunity until we reach the finish line.