TheGunBlog.ca — The RCMP, which administers gun users in Canada, sent the following memo to provincial Chief Firearms Officers to explain a new regulatory trap used to criminalize federally licensed firearm owners and confiscate their gear.
The undated note from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Canadian Firearms Program describes the surprise nullification of firearm-registration certificates targeting almost 70,000 owners of suddenly blacklisted rifles and shotguns.
The governing Liberal Party and RCMP used the unprecedented maneuver in their May 1 attacks against hunters, farmers, ranchers, recreational shooters, competitors and firearm collectors.
The legal artifice instantly turned them into unlawful gun owners at risk of criminal charges or jail if they buy, sell, move or use any of the firearms. They also risk jail unless they surrender the items to police by 30 April 2022.
Why It Matters
- The need for an explanatory memo highlights the complexity and confusion around the unheard-of nullification tactic, even among Chief Firearms Officers responsible for applying and enforcing gun laws.
- Nobody needs special instructions for “business as usual.” They need guidance for irregular and unusual procedures.
Caroline Duval, a spokesperson for the Ottawa-based RCMP, provided a copy of the two-page English and French memo to TheGunBlog.ca today in response to our request, and replied to our questions, below.
The memo tells CFOs that gun owners using Section 74 of the Firearms Act to challenge the nullifications in court “is not an option.” It was sent two weeks after we published: Why and How I Applied for a Section 74 Hearing: CameronSS.
A copy of the memo was initially sent to TheGunBlog.ca by a subscriber who applied for a Section 74 review.
RCMP Memo to CFOs, 25 August 2020
From: Christine Tricket, Director of Firearms Regulatory Services
RCMP Responds to Questions
Could we please ask the date of the memo, and what prompted it?
On August 25, 2020, the Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) sent a memo to Chief Firearms Officers (CFOs) to advise them that individualized notices specifically addressed to clients that had previously registered restricted firearms are now prohibited and their registration certificates became nullified as per the May 1, 2020 Order in Council (OIC).
This nullification is the result of the legislative change to the Criminal Code Regulations and not the result of any decision by the Registrar to revoke the registration certificates under the Firearms Act. Accordingly, the letter is not a Firearm Registration Certificate Revocation Notice.
This memo was used as a communications mechanism to emphasize the significant regulatory changes resulting from the May 1, 2020 OIC.
Information on the nullified registration certificates is also available at https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/firearms/need-know-the-government-canadas-new-prohibition-certain-firearms-and-devices
Could you say who (person or department) provided the legal opinion that the nullification of firearm-registration certificates was done by cabinet via OIC without the Registrar of Firearms, and that “a revocation hearing is not an option”?
Legal advice is subject to solicitor-client privilege and will not be disclosed.
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Update Oct. 11: Edits first paragraph to say “regulatory trap,” adds details to Why It Matters, adds details on Section 74 review.