Firearms Marking Rules Delayed Until 2018, Regina Group Says

The Canadian government postponed new rules on importing guns to December 2018 from June 1 this year, Regina Gun Safety & Licensing said today, quoting the RCMP. A draft government document suggests a delay is in the works on the policies, which have already disrupted the gun industry.

“Please note that we were recently advised that the coming into force date for the Firearms Marking Regulations has been deferred to December 1, 2018,” the Regina group said today on its website and on Reddit.com, citing an e-mail from an unidentified person at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The gun industry is in turmoil over how to comply with the regulations and the Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association, the main industry group, has urged the government for months to clarify, modify or scrap the policy.

‘Catastrophic Damage’

Nordic Marksman Inc., which supplies rifles to Olympic shooters, and Ellwood Epps Sporting Goods, one of Canada’s largest independent gun stores, are among companies that canceled orders on concern shipments would arrive after June 1, resulting in financial or legal charges. Korth Group Ltd., one of Canada’s biggest gun importers, said this week it expected the marking regulations to be delayed.

The Canadian Sporting Arms and Ammunition Association said in September that the regulations as written will cause “catastrophic damage” to thousands of small businesses. Importers will need to install $100,000 laser-engraving machines and overhaul their operations, the group said, something only larger companies can afford.

The Privy Council Office, which advises the prime minister and cabinet, provided a link to an Order in Council to be published on May 31, the day before the regulations are set to take effect (capital letters in original). Christopher di Armani reported the link earlier.

Government Update Tomorrow

“Regulations Amending the FIREARMS MARKING REGULATIONS to defer the coming into Force date of the Regulations in order to permit the Government of Canada to develop amendments to the Regulations so that they achieve their intended purpose of enabling the tracing of crime guns by law enforcement agencies,” reads the precis of the text.

The regulations were written in 2004 for the UN Firearms Protocol against illegal trade, and had been deferred until this year. The rules say that guns that enter Canada as of June 1 must be marked with “Canada” or “CA” and the last two digits of the year of import, such as “CA17.” They also say how, when and where the marks must be applied, but the text is confusing even to experts and doesn’t say how the regulations will be enforced or what the penalties will be for non-compliance.

“As we have said before, the government is fully engaged on this matter and hopes to be able to bring clarity to it in the very near future,” Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Safety, said today by e-mail. “We will have more to say tomorrow.”

Even if the rules are clarified before they take effect, the new marks won’t stop traffickers from removing them or applying fakes.

The current Liberal government said during the 2015 election campaign that it would “immediately implement the imported gun marking regulations that have been repeatedly delayed by Stephen Harper,” the Conservative former prime minister.

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