TheGunBlog.ca — Canada’s federal agency in charge of firearm prohibition said it doesn’t know how many CZ 858 and SAN Swiss Arms rifles are in the hands of federally licensed owners since most of the guns don’t require ownership registration.
It had previously estimated 10,000 to 15,000.
Owners will be required to register their guns with the federal police after Bill C-71 kicks in as a new law against Canada’s 2.2 million hunters, farmers, ranchers, sport shooters and gun collectors.
The CZ 858 and Swiss Arms models, some of which cost more than $4,000, are popular among all of them.
Bans for Votes
The governing Liberal Party proposed Bill C-71 after a government adviser said last year new controls on gun-licence holders present an “untapped opportunity” to win re-election this year.
Bill C-71 will lead to a ban on new purchases of the mainly “Non-restricted” CZ 858 and Swiss Arms, and to their seizure and destruction after the owners die. The Liberals are reclassifying them as “Prohibited.”
All licensed gun owners and their firearms are tightly restricted by law. If the CZ 858 and Swiss Arms owners don’t get new police authorizations, they could face prison. The government hasn’t said how it will notify them of the new law.
All guns are banned for anyone without a permit.
Caroline Duval, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based Royal Canadian Mounted Police, commented on the estimates today by e-mail in response to questions from TheGunBlog.ca.
At this time, it is not known how many CZ/SA firearms exist in Canada as many of the firearms have been deemed non-restricted, and are therefore not registered.
The RCMP Canadian Firearms Program is preparing for implementation of C-71 if and when it receives Royal Assent. Until the new legislation, including its various elements come into force, current rules regarding firearms licencing and registration remain in effect.
10,000 – 15,000
“We do not know the exact numbers of the firearms, but there has been speculation that they could be in the tens of thousands,” Rob O’Reilly, the RCMP’s Director of Firearms Regulatory Services in November, told a House of Commons committee at the time.
O’Reilly is now listed as the RCMP chief of staff.
The RCMP, which also manages personal licensing and firearm registration, told TheGunBog.ca a year ago it was using 10,000 to 15,000 “as a planning figure only.”
Useless and Wasteful
The previous government led by the Conservatives eliminated the requirement for police-vetted gun owners to register details of most of their firearms with the police in 2012 after the system proved useless and wasteful.