In spite of the promise of Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government the long gun registry returned on May 18th. I’m sure the Trudeau Liberals will claim they are not reviving the convoluted, expensive, controversial, useless registry. After all, they swore up and down before the 2015 election they would never reinstate the registry if elected. Regardless of what they say individuals and businesses now have to call the Registrar of Firearms and provide them with all the same information required under the old gun registry. Once you have done that you get a reference number and the gun can change hands. Sounds like a long gun registry to me.

Topic: Transfer of Non-Restricted Firearms

Effective May 18, 2022, regulatory changes to the federal Firearms Act came into effect which affect the transfer of non-restricted firearms by businesses and individuals. The changes are the result of Bill C-71 and are effective immediately. An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to Firearms provides for mandatory verification of a buyer’s firearms licence prior to transfer of a non-restricted firearm, and the requirement for businesses to keep records on inventory and transfers of non-restricted firearms. These Bill C-71 provisions have been brought into force by Order in Council. The coming into force of section 5 of the former Bill C-71 will restore the requirement for licence verification prior to the transfer of a non-restricted firearm. The buyer will be required to provide the vendor with the information prescribed by regulation, and the vendor will request a reference number from the Registrar, which verifies the validity of the buyer’s licence. If the Registrar is satisfied that the buyer holds and is still eligible to hold a firearms licence allowing the acquisition and possession of a non-restricted firearm, the Registrar will issue a reference number to both the buyer and the vendor. The reference number will be valid for the period of time prescribed by regulations. If the Registrar is not satisfied, they may inform the vendor. These Regulations specify the information that must be provided to the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) upon transfer of a restricted or prohibited firearm to an individual or a business; and the information to be provided to the Registrar upon transfer to the federal government, a provincial government, a police force, or a municipality, and transfers by mail.

The following is a summary of the new process:

  • The buyer is required to provide the information contained on the front of the buyer’s firearms licence card to the vendor (licence number, name, date of birth, date of expiration, photograph, height, gender, and eye colour). The vendor is then required to provide some of the buyer’s information to the Registrar, including the licence number and any other information requested by the Registrar for the purposes of the issuance of a reference number under section 23 of the Act (name, date of birth, etc.), to the  Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) through an online portal or through a telephone call to the CFP’s Call Centre. If the buyer’s firearms licence is valid, both the buyer and the vendor will receive a reference number. If the licence is invalid, the Registrar will be unable to issue a reference number, and the request will be flagged to the CFO of jurisdiction for follow-up.
  • Reference numbers will be valid for 90 days. The transfer of the non-restricted firearm must be completed during that validity period. While a licence could become invalid or be revoked at any time, the risk increases the longer the reference number remains valid. A period of 90 days strikes a balance between limiting the window within which a licence could become invalid and reducing compliance burden on vendors. It will help to ensure that most transactions can be completed without having to make a new reference number request. In a very small number of instances — usually when the firearm is on back-order — the firearm will not be transferred until after the 90-day validity period expires, which will require an additional licence verification request just prior to the buyer taking actual possession.

Summary effect on businesses that sell firearms and record keeping:

  • Firearms businesses are required to keep records which describe each non-restricted firearm in their possession. This includes the activities related to possession of each non-restricted firearm, the date on which these activities are performed, and their disposal, as follows:
  1. i) Manufacturer, make, model, type of firearm, classification, action, gauge or calibre, barrel length, magazine capacity (in the case of a fixed magazine), and all serial numbers found on the frame or receiver.
  2. ii) Manufacture, importation, exportation, purchase, alteration, repair, storage, exhibition, deactivation, destruction, sale, barter, donation, consignment, pawnbroking, or any other category related to the possession or disposal of the firearm, and the date on which the change occurred.

iii) The name of the shipper, their permit number or carrier licence number, and the reference number, if the shipper is different from the business keeping the records.

  • Businesses are required to retain the possession and disposal records for 20 years from the record’s creation.
  • The Registrar of Firearms is the official to whom a firearms business must send its records, when it ceases to be a business.
  • The Registrar of Firearms may destroy the business records received after 20 years from the day after the day on which they were received from that business.