Liberals Plan ‘Grandfathering’ Under Bans: Minister of Justice

This may be the first time a minister has mentioned “grandfathering” for victims of the May 1 gun confiscations.

21 July 2020

4 min read

Minister of Justice David Lametti. Source: Department of Justice

(Update July 24, 11:30 Toronto time: Adds comment from Ministry of Public Safety.)

TheGunBlog.ca — Canada’s Minister of Justice said the government will allow so-called “grandfathering” for victims of its mass gun confiscations to store the gear at home, one of the only times the option has been mentioned since May 1.

Lametti Quote

“The Government has also announced its intention to introduce a buy-back program and grandfathering regime,” Minister David Lametti said in his response tabled July 20 to a House of Commons petition fighting the seizures.


Why It Matters

  • For many owners targeted by the confiscations, the prospect of being allowed to store their suddenly banned guns at home until death is a less-evil scenario than forced surrender by the deadline of 30 April 2022, or risking jail to keep the gear after that date.
  • It leaves open the hope that a court challenge or future government will restore justice and undo confiscation.
  • Nothing in law or regulation offers any option other than surrender by 30 April 2022, so the Liberals could easily scrap what they wrongly label “grandfathering.”

Frozen Assets

Hundreds of thousands of honest citizens had their firearm assets frozen by a cabinet decree on May 1. The Order in Council made it a crime to buy, sell, transport or use the suddenly prohibited items.

The governing Liberal Party and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been pushing forced surrender by the end of April 2022.

First Mention?

Lametti’s reference to “grandfathering” is the first and only mention by a minister that TheGunBlog.ca could find.

TheGunBlog.ca is aware of the following references to “grandfathering”:

May 01

  • Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement following the “ban list” (SOR/2020-96) in the Canada Gazette, the official government newsletter. It isn’t part of the confiscation order (SOR/2020-97).
  • Ministry of Public Safety – Confiscation Q&A (Mentions “grandfathering” in question, not response.)
  • Ministry of Public Safety – Technical Briefing
  • RCMP – Confiscation web page (Later deleted)

July 20

  • Minister Lametti response to Petition E-2341

Public Safety Response

“Since the May 1st Orders-in-Council, Public Safety has not published any additional information or documents that refer to grandfathering beyond what you have already located,” Karine Martel, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Safety in Ottawa, told TheGunBlog.ca by e-mail in response to our questions.

RCMP Exclusion

The RCMP excluded “grandfathering” as an option in this month’s notice to gun owners saying their ownership of the banned firearms is terminated.

Back on the Table?

Many hunters, sport shooters and firearm collectors believed the option was dead after the RCMP deleted all references to “grandfathering” from its web page on the gun grab in early May.

Lametti’s response suggests it’s still a possibility. It may never materialize.

NDP, Bloc Balk

The Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party balked at anything other than quick firearm seizures. The Liberals need their support in the House of Commons to set it up any “grandfathering regime” in law.

Compensation for Confiscation

The Liberals refer to forced surrender by April 2022 in exchange for compensation for the victims as “buyback.”

Neither the concept of “buyback” nor “grandfathering” are mentioned in law or regulation. The Liberals have said they are an intention.

Record-Setting Petitions

Lametti was responding to Petition E-2341, the most-signed electronic petition in House of Commons history until a new one still taking signatures, E-2574, overtook it to grab the No. 1 spot.

Almost a quarter-million people have signed their names to stop confiscation.

Plan Will Fail

The premiers of Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, as well as many police officers also reject it.

At least six groups and individuals are fighting the bans in federal and provincial court.

The widespread opposition across Canada, the unwillingness of many gun owners to surrender their gear and the near impossibility to enforce the confiscation plan suggest it will fail.

‘Growing Resistance’

“Given the massive and growing resistance to the Liberal attacks, the smart thing for the Liberals to ease tensions is to keep slow surrender on the table instead of forcing fast surrender in less than two years,” said Nicolas Johnson, the editor of TheGunBlog.ca.

NFA President Comments

Sheldon Clare, the president of the National Firearms Association, e-mailed the following comment to TheGunBlog.ca:

I don’t expect that the government will have a “grandfathering” clause for registered firearms newly prohibited under the Order in Council for two main reasons.

First, letters have been sent to people which revoke the registrations. That doesn’t happen with “grandfathering” — and revoking registration certainly hasn’t been past practice.

Second, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP have previously expressed that they would not support funding the enabling legislation and any “buyback” bill if people are allowed to retain ownership of firearms with “grandfathering.”

There are two ways to defeat this legislation — the first is in the courts with Parker v. Canada, and the second is by defeating the Liberals in the next federal election.

The NFA is preparing information based on legal advice regarding the utility of Section 74 challenges which will be on our website at NFA.ca.

Sheldon Clare, E-Mail to TheGunBlog.ca, 21 July 2020

Related

Updates

  • July 21 at 23:45 Toronto time: Rewrites throughout. Adds NFA comment.
  • July 22, 13:45 Toronto time: Adds earlier mentions of “grandfathering.”)

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