BILL C-21: An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms)
Proposed changes to combat intimate partner and gender-based violence and self-harm involving firearms, fight gun smuggling and trafficking, help municipalities create safer communities, give young people the opportunities and resources they need to resist lives of crime, protect Canadians from gun violence, and subject owners of firearms prohibited on May 1, 2020 to non-permissive storage requirements, should they choose not to participate in the buyback program. These changes are outlined in Bill C-21: An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms).
On this page proposed amendments to:
- Combat intimate partner and gender-based violence and self-harm involving firearms
- Fight gun smuggling and trafficking
- Help municipalities create safer communities
- Give young people the opportunities and resources they need to resist lives of crime
- Protect Canadians from gun violence
- Require owners of firearms (and variants) prohibited on May 1, 2020 who do not participate in the buyback program to comply with a non-permissive storage regime
- Additional changes
Combat intimate partner and gender-based violence and self-harm involving firearms
- Introduce a new "red flag" regime that would enable anyone to make an application to a court for an order to immediately remove firearms, for up to 30 days, from:
- an individual who may pose a danger to themselves or others; or a third party who may be at risk of providing access to firearms to an individual who is already subject to a prohibition order.
- Individuals who are subject to a weapons prohibition order may be required to immediately surrender their firearm(s) to law enforcement. The court may also make a seizure order to temporarily remove the firearm(s) on an urgent basis.
- Weapons prohibition orders would help to address situations where an individual poses a risk to themselves, their family, or to public safety, including perpetrators of intimate partner and gender-based violence, people at risk of suicide, and radicalized individuals.
- Limitation on access orders would address situations where an individual subject to a prohibition order could have access to a third-party's weapon.
- New applications for a weapons prohibition order could be made, and the court could set a hearing for a longer-term prohibition order (up to 5 years) if there continues to be reasonable grounds to believe that the individual poses a public safety risk.
"Yellow flag" licence suspension regime
- Chief Firearms Officers (CFOs) would have the ability to suspend an individual's licence for up to 30 days if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual is no longer eligible to hold a firearms licence, and to investigate whether that individual continues to be eligible to hold a firearms licence.
- Anyone could contact a CFO with information about a licence holder.
- While surrender of firearms would not be required, the individual could not use their firearms or acquire or import additional firearms during the suspension period.
- If an investigation determines that the individual continues to be eligible to hold a firearms licence, use and acquisition privileges would be immediately reinstated.
Surrender of firearms pending legal challenge of licence revocation
- Require an individual to surrender their firearms during a legal challenge of licence or registration certificate revocation, and measures to help with safe disposal of the firearms, if required.
Fight gun smuggling and trafficking
Increase maximum penalties for firearms trafficking, smuggling and related offences
- Increase maximum penalties for firearms trafficking, smuggling and other firearms offences (e.g., possession of a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm or possession of a weapon obtained by the commission of an offence) from 10 to 14 years imprisonment.
Disclosure of information to Canadian law enforcement agencies
- Allow proactive sharing of some firearms licensing and registration data between the RCMP and local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting firearms trafficking offences.
- Require the Commissioner of Firearms to provide the Minister with an annual report by May 31 including data on these disclosures.
Help municipalities create safer communities
Support municipalities that wish to restrict handguns
- The federal government would create conditions on an individual's federal firearms licence to restrict handgun storage and transport in those municipalities that pass bylaws to these effects.
- Any municipality has the option to pass bylaws related to handgun storage and transport in their jurisdiction, such as prohibiting storage at home or prohibiting storage anywhere within municipal boundaries, and limiting transport to or from the municipality, if allowed by their province/territory.
- Breach of the federal firearms licence condition would carry a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment, as well as possible revocation of a firearms licence or a registration certificate.
Give young people the opportunities and resources they need to resist lives of crime
- Provide $250 million over 5 years - starting in 2021-22 –to municipalities and Indigenous communities to support anti-gang programming and prevention programs for youth-at-risk.
Protect Canadians from gun violence
New offence for altering a cartridge magazine
- Current maximum magazine capacity for firearms sold or imported into Canada is 10 cartridges for most handgun magazines, and five cartridges for most magazines designed for a semi-automatic, centre-fire long gun.
- The Bill would make it an offence to alter a cartridge magazine to exceed its lawful capacity, with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment on indictment for more serious cases, or two years less a day and/or a fine of $5,000 on summary conviction for less serious cases.
- Anyone importing non-prohibited ammunition would have to present a valid firearms licence to a customs officer, or complete a declaration form (if a non-resident without a firearms licence).
Ensure mid-velocity 'replica' firearms are prohibited
- Update the Criminal Code to ensure that any device, including an unregulated airgun that looks exactly like a conventional regulated firearm (i.e., shoots over 500 feet per second), is prohibited for the purposes of import, export, sale and transfer.
- Current owners may keep their 'replicas' but cannot transfer them to anyone else.
- No further 'replica' firearms could be imported into, or sold/transferred in Canada.
- This amendment does not affect other types of airguns that do not exactly replicate a conventional regulated firearm.
Limit the glorification of violence in firearms marketing and sales
- Create an offence under the Firearms Act to prohibit business advertising that depicts, counsels or promotes firearms violence against a person, with a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment for a first offence and five years for each subsequent offence.
Require owners of firearms (and variants) prohibited on May 1, 2020, who do not participate in the buyback program to comply with a non-permissive storage regime
New non-permissive storage regime
- Establish a non-permissive storage possession regime that would offer lawful owners of firearms (and variants) prohibited on May 1, 2020 the option to keep their firearm; however possession would be subject to strict conditions including no permitted use, no import, no further acquisition, no sale and no bequeathal.
- Owners who choose to retain these firearms would be required to comply with additional requirements including successfully completing the related Canadian Restricted Firearm Safety Course and upgrading to a Restricted Possession and Acquisition Licence (with all associated course and licence fees), registering the firearm(s) with the Firearms Registrar, complying with enhanced storage requirements, and periodically providing information on storage of the firearm(s) to ensure compliance.
Firearms classification regime review
- Review firearms classification, including whether to prohibit assault-style firearms by definition in the Criminal Code instead of by make and model in regulations, to be initiated by the Minister of Justice.
- Modernize language in the regulations and the Criminal Code with respect to prohibited weapons, prohibited devices and prohibited ammunition to close gaps in law.
- The classification review would begin once the proposed legislation is reviewed by Parliament.
Update the definition of public officers
- Provide security personnel at the Bank of Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mint with public officer status so they can possess and carry any firearm considered necessary to protect their premises and the public.
- Enable the Governor-in-Council to designate employees of Crown entities as public officers so they can carry any firearm for security reasons.
Create national standard to issue an Authorization to Carry (ATC) a firearm for protection of life
- Amend the Firearms Act provisions to make the Commissioner of Firearms the only person authorized to grant ATCs for protection of life, and formalize the administrative requirements to grant them in the firearms regulations.
Strengthen the transborder inadmissibility framework
- The Bill would transfer responsibility for the transborder inadmissibility framework from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, to better align with the Minister's existing responsibility for border management, immigration enforcement, and criminal law enforcement.
Establish a permanent legal framework for the possession and use of firearms at high-security nuclear facilities
- Expand protections for Nuclear Security Officers (including nuclear response force members) by granting them limited peace officer status. Their scope would be limited geographically to the nuclear facility itself and to only those peace officer powers required to fulfill their duties.
- Create a standalone regime for licensee to acquire special equipment, including firearms, required to carry out security functions at their facilities.
- Establish a new public complaints process.
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