Ministry Comments on Bill C-71 Royal Assent, Orders in Council — Following are comments by Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety on when Bill C-71 officially takes effect as a new law against federally licensed gun owners and businesses.

Some parts come into force immediately following the Royal Assent ceremony that could happen at any time, and some parts will take effect later through a series of cabinet orders known as an “Order in Council.”

Zarah Malik, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based Ministry of Public Safety, sent the comments by e-mail to today in response to our questions.

Q1: When will Bill C-71 receive Royal Assent, or could you say if it’s hours, days or weeks away?

A1: In cases where the Senate adopts a Commons bill without amendment, a message is sent to the House of Commons to inform it that the bill has been passed, and Royal Assent is normally granted shortly thereafter. There is no prescribed time frame within which a bill is granted Royal Assent.

Q2: Would you be able to summarize when the different parts come into force?

A2: Upon Royal Assent, the following provisions would come into force immediately:

  • Authority to make regulations to grandfather individuals to retain possession of newly prohibited firearms;
  • Authority for Chief Firearms Officers (CFOs) to issue, at their discretion, an Authorization to Transport (ATT) to take a prohibited firearm to an approved range. (Currently, the Act prohibits CFOs from issuing an ATT to a shooting club or range for prohibited firearms, with the exception of a prohibited handgun grandfathered under section 12[6.1] of the Firearms Act.);
  • Authority to make it punishable to contravene the Firearms Marking Regulations;
  • Authority to make regulations regarding the transmission of records;
  • A Criminal Code amendment to clarify that firearms and other weapons that have been seized and are in the custody of law enforcement at the time that a firearms prohibition order is issued shall be forfeited to the Crown, unless specified otherwise in the order; and
  • Part 2 of the Bill which amends the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act to, among other things, direct the Commissioner of Firearms to provide, on request, the Minister of the Government of Quebec responsible for public security with a copy of the remaining registration records of non-restricted firearms related to residents of Quebec.

The remaining provisions are expected to come into force at a later date by Order in Council and once administrative changes have been made. These include:

  • The requirement for licence verification for transfers of non-restricted firearms;
  • The requirement for businesses to keep records as they relate to non-restricted firearms;
  • Expanded background checks for those seeking to acquire a firearms licence, including increasing the consideration period from the previous five years to span the history of a person’s life;
  • Removal of the authority for the Governor in Council to ‘deem’ firearms to be of a less restrictive class (e.g. non-restricted or restricted) despite meeting the criteria for a more restrictive class (e.g. prohibited) and grandfather owners of CZ/SA firearms; and
  • The requirement for a separate authorization when transporting restricted and prohibited firearms to any place except to an approved shooting range.

Q3: When do stores have to start recording details of all gun buyers and the guns they buy?

A3: As noted above, the requirement for businesses to keep records related to non-restricted firearms would come into force by OIC at a later date and not on Royal Assent.

Q4: When does the RCMP have to deliver the “Long-Gun Registry” to the Quebec government?

A4: On the bill receiving Royal Assent and following receipt of a written request from the Minister of Public Security in Quebec, the Commissioner of Firearms would be required to provide a copy of the Quebec long-gun registry records as they existed on April 3, 2015.