Government Defers ‘Firearms Marking Regulations’ Beyond Dec. 1

Update Nov. 30: Ministry of Public Safety says the regulations will take effect 01 December 2023.

14 September 2020

3 min read

TheGunBlog.ca — The Canadian government deferred its Firearms Marking Regulations beyond Dec. 1, pushing back the start of the new restrictions on the gun industry for the 10th time since passing them in 2004.

Details By Dec. 1

The Ministry of Public Safety will provide new details and timing before Dec. 1, Zarah Malik, a spokesperson for the ministry in Ottawa, told TheGunBlog.ca today by e-mail in response to our questions.

Malik also said the government has yet to detail its plans for a new “evergreen” firearm-classification regime and handgun bans.

Update Nov. 30: The Ministry of Public Safety said Nov. 30 the regulations will take effect on 01 December 2023.

Restrict Imports, Facilitate Tracing

The new marking rules are being expanded to further restrict and track federally licensed firearm owners and businesses, already one of Canada’s most-strictly monitored industries.

They will require stamping or laser-engraving every imported gun to make imports more difficult and to make it easier for police to trace every firearm to its owners.

Ministry Comment

Public Safety Canada’s Forward Regulatory Plan for 2020-2022 (https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/trnsprnc/cts-rgltns/frwrd-rgltr-pln/frwrd-rgltr-pln-en.aspx) did not include the coming into force of the Firearms Marking Regulations. The government intends to defer the regulations; the details and duration of the deferral will be announced before 1 December 2020.

Public Safety Canada, Response to TheGunBlog.ca, 14 September 2020

Beyond 2022?

The Forward Regulatory Plan, which indicates priorities for the coming two years, suggests the new restrictions may not take effect until at least 2022. The latest online version of the plan shows a datestamp of March 30.

Successive Deferrals

Successive governments keep delaying the onerous and costly restrictions to figure out how to apply and enforce them, and to expand their scope beyond the original intent.

The last time they were delayed was in November 2018.

Wasteful and Useless

While the policing lobby pushes for the new constraints without concern for cost, complexity or privacy, the firearm industry and shooters’ groups reject them as wasteful, complex, damaging and useless.

Every modern gun can already be uniquely identified since it includes the manufacturer, the country of manufacture, and a serial number.

Lost Original Intent

The rules were originally developed to trace international gun shipments as part of the United Nations Firearms Protocol against illegal trafficking, and for a convention of the Organization of American States against illegal manufacturing and trafficking.

Industry Scramble

Firearm imports in May 2017 jumped to their highest monthly level on record as companies scrambled to get shipments into Canada before the June 1, 2017, start of the marking restrictions that ended up being delayed.

Historic Chart

Canada May Gun Imports to May 2018

‘Evergreen’ Prohibitions, Handgun Bans

TheGunBlog.ca also asked the ministry for details on its plans to ban handguns via municipalities and to create a new, flexible “evergreen framework for gun classifications” to “quickly” ban any gun any time. We asked if they may be in the Speech From the Throne on Sept. 23.

The governing Liberal Party, which ordered mass gun confiscations on May 1, is set to outline its priorities in the speech.

Government Response

“The Government has not yet announced the details of its intent in these areas, or the timing,” Malik said. “The Government’s agenda in the Speech from the Throne will be known only when it is presented to Parliament.”


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