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What’s coming down the pipe? A Look into CSSA’s Crystal Ball

by Tony Bernardo
CSSA Executive Director

Many (many!) firearm owners have called and written since the election asking, “What will happen next?”

Here’s what we know so far, and what we foresee in the near future.

Bill C-71 will be implemented, in full, probably by the new year. This will do several things – none of them good.

First, owners of Swiss Arms Classic firearms and CZ-858 rifles will be forced to register them as “Prohibited” 12(11) and 12(14) firearms. They will be permitted to keep these guns (for now), and these firearms will have range privileges attached to their “Prohibited” designation.

Registered owners will also have grandfathering “privileges” (aka confiscation by the State when you die) added to their firearm licenses.

There may be a time lag as CFOs across Canada change Range Permits to reflect the legislative shift, i.e., a change from “All ‘Non-Restricted’ firearms and 12(6) handguns” to “All ‘Non-Restricted’ firearms, 12(6) handguns, 12(11) and 12(14) rifles.”

How long will these changes take? We don’t know, so stay tuned.

Second, anyone wishing to transfer a Non-Restricted firearm will be forced to obtain a reference number from the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC). An owner must contact the CFC, enter the Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) information for both the seller and buyer in order to obtain a reference number before a sale, loan or gift transaction may be completed.

This is a permanent record – yet the government claims they aren’t bringing back a long gun registry. Right…

Third, Retailers will be forced to keep sales records, now deemed to be “government documents,” for 20 years – and must surrender them to the CFO upon demand.

Fourth, automatic Authorizations to Transport (ATT) for travel to and from clubs within the RPAL holder’s province of residence for the purpose of target practice will remain as they are today. ATTs to bring a firearm home from a sale will also be automatic.

However, a new ATT will be required to take a firearm to a gun store, a gunsmith, a gun show and a border crossing. It is unknown if these will be paper or electronic ATTs.

Fifth, our elected officials, the people we elect to make our laws, will no longer be involved in firearms classifications. The RCMP has sole authority to classify firearms and there is no appeal mechanism to correct their (many) mistakes.

On October 23, 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau outlined the priorities his new government will address. Firearms issues were not among the priorities stated. However, he fell short of saying they would not be addressed.

The Public Safety Ministry has their marching orders. While their first priority will be breaking in and educating their new Minister (because Ralph Goodale lost his seat!), do not believe for a moment that the firearms file is dead, or even on the back burner. It’s not.

What’s changed is Ottawa’s power dynamic.

With the Trudeau government’s new minority stature, the Liberals are dependent on other political parties to help them pass legislation. This requires some “give and take” on the part of the Liberals for most issues, but there is little hope this “give and take” will apply to the firearms file.

On this front, it will only be “take” because the NDP has long supported a ban on black rifles and handguns, as does the Green Party.

While the Bloc Québécois did not declare their position during the election, there is no evidence to support the premise Bloc Québécois will oppose Liberal gun bans.

Trudeau’s Liberal government will have plenty of support to screw over Canadians for their black rifles, and this will not stop at the AR-15.

The Liberals already stated the Mini-14 and Mini-30 rifles, along with the ubiquitous SKS rifle, will be banned and confiscated. There will be many more.

With the NDP, Greens and Bloc Québécois complicit in Trudeau’s gun bans, their expansion to include handguns is a forgone conclusion. While citing their resistance to banning handguns during the election campaign, the Liberals will claim pressure from the NDP, Greens and Bloc Québécois “forced” them into it.

Trudeau will follow New Zealand’s example, so pump-action and lever action rifles and shotguns can’t be far behind.

Despite Trudeau’s claim he respects hunters, it’s clear these assurances were little more than lip service designed to appeal to the feeble minded.

Clearly there is no place for Canada’s 2.2 million gun owners in Trudeau’s confederation. But once again, CSSA will be at the head of the pack, working to protect the rights of Canada’s gun owners. Stay tuned for more!

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