Government Says C-71 Could Grandfather Gun Owners After New Bans

(Update 02 April: Rewrites part of second paragraph to clarify role of police and concern about police action.) — Canada’s Liberal government proposed a law this week to ban more guns. It may use a “grandfather clause” to let owners hold onto their firearms, before eventual expropriation. A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Safety explains.

If passed, Bill C-71 will immediately classify more than 10,000 CZ 858 and Swiss Arms Classic rifles as “Prohibited.” It also will empower the federal police to classify other legally owned guns “without political influence,” fueling concern of police overreach and more bans. Even if police interpret and apply the law as best they can, when they make mistake, it’s gun owners who pay.

The legislation would let the government give firearm owners a new category of ownership licence to avoid future bans, a process known as “grandfathering.” But it would be at the government’s discretion and come with such strict limitations that all affected guns will end up sold abroad or handed over to the police.

‘Retain and Use’

“The government is proposing a grandfathering process to allow owners of the affected firearms to retain and use their firearms, provided they take required steps within a set time period,” Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Safety, said today by e-mail in response to questions from “This provision provides protection for existing firearms owners affected” by future prohibitions.

Hunters, sport shooters and gun-shop owners across Canada want to defeat a bill that will further strip away their rights and property.

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“If the Liberals pass this and then got in with a majority, I think you can say goodbye to all black rifles,” John Hipwell, the founder of Wolverine Supplies Ltd., one of Canada’s largest gun stores, said yesterday. “I feel that they’re really setting us up.”

“Can you say Gun Bans?” the Canadian Shooting Sports Association said today in a newsletter. “Well in fact, it is much worse than this. It sets the stage for many future gun bans.”

From Scott Bardsley, Ministry of Public Safety

More information about the bill is available at


The Government is proposing a grandfathering process to allow owners of the affected firearms to retain and use their firearms, provided they take required steps within a set time period.

For owners of the Ceská Zbrojovka and SAN Swiss Arms firearms impacted by the repealed status, the Government will pursue measures (such as an amnesty) to protect owners from criminal liability for possession of a prohibited firearm while they are coming into compliance with the grandfathering requirements. Under such measures, owners could be authorized to possess but not use their firearms until the licensing and registration requirements for grandfathering are met.

As was mentioned at the [technical briefing]:

“For an individual to own a prohibited weapon by grandfathering or any other means they’re required to have a restricted firearms licence.  For those who may have a non-restricted firearms licence they will be required to undertake the safety training that is a prerequisite of obtaining a restricted firearms licence. After they’ve undertaken that safety training, make application for a restricted firearms licence.  Once they have a restricted licence they then will be able to register this firearm under the new system.”

As well as:

“The individual firearm and the individual owner become grandfathered so they can retain them. They cannot buy, no more of these can be imported, they can’t be sold at retail.  The only legal transfers that can occur are to export them out of Canada or to transfer them to another grandfathered owner grandfathered specifically for that firearm, not someone who is grandfathered for any other firearm [, or to dispose of the firearm].”

The repeal of the deeming provisions and the grandfathering of affected owners will not come into force upon Royal Assent. They only come into force at a later date due.


Our government wants to ensure the impartial, professional, accurate and consistent classification of firearms as either “non-restricted” “restricted” or “prohibited” – by restoring a system in which Parliament defines the classes but entrusts experts in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to classify firearms according to the technical criteria set out in the Criminal Code, without political influence.

Under that position, that politicians cannot prohibit particular firearms.

Additionally, under C-71 the Governor in Council and his Cabinet would be given the authority to grandfather by regulation in future. This provision provides protection for existing firearms owners affected by a situation described here by the Canadian Firearms Program:

Can a firearm be “re-classified”?

It may occasionally appear that a firearm has been “re-classified.” However, this term is not accurate.

The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) applies criteria set out in the Criminal Code and corresponding regulations. A firearm’s class depends on the attributes of the firearm and the definitions in the Criminal Code. The Criminal Code defines “restricted firearm” and “prohibited firearm”. In some cases, information may arise that influences the outcome of this determination, and subsequently, the firearm’s class. For example, authorities may evaluate an imported firearm based on information provided by a firearm manufacturer or importer, prior to importation. Upon inspection, however, it may be determined that the information initially provided was inaccurate or incomplete.

Similarly, if it is determined that a firearm can easily be modified (e.g., reduced in length or converted from semi-automatic to full automatic), this new information will determine the firearm’s class. Also, the design of an imported firearm may change over time from that of the initial shipment. The newer variant may fit into a different class than the original model.

Expropriation (From The Law Dictionary): This word properly denotes a voluntary surrender of rights or claims; the act of divesting oneself of that which was previously claimed as one’s own, or renouncing it. In this sense it is the opposite of “appropriation.”

© 2018

The most important part of gun rights isn’t “gun,” it’s “rights.”