Strengthening Canada’s Gun Laws

As communities across the country have faced a steady increase in gun-related crime over the past several years, the Government of Canada has strengthened Canada's gun laws in a common-sense and focused way. Former Bill C-71, An Act to Amend Certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms prioritizes public safety and effective police work, while respecting law-abiding firearms owners.

Some technical amendments came into force upon Royal Assent in 2019 such as provisions related to the forfeiture of firearms under the Criminal Code. Proposed licence verification and business record-keeping regulations under the former Bill C-71 were published in Canada Gazette, Part I for a 30-day public comment period. The final regulations will come into force following publication in Canada Gazette, Part II, anticipated for Fall 2021. 

Expanding background checks to cover an applicant's lifetime, and reinstating the discretionary – rather than automatic – Authorization to Transport (ATT) restricted and prohibited firearms to most locations other than to/from a shooting range or to the firearm's storage location after purchase will come into force on July 7, 2021. The repeal of a provision that allows government to overrule the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) determination of a firearm's classification, will come into force by Order-in-Council once changes have been put in place.

What is the difference between the record-keeping provisions and the defunct long-gun registry?
What is the difference between the record-keeping provisions and the defunct long-gun registry?

 

Record-keeping provisions

Long-gun registry

Firearms information

Held by businesses

Held by government

Law enforcement access

Only able to access business records on reasonable grounds, and upon presentation of a judicial authorization.

Available to police through the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC)

Registration certificates

Not required

Required and records held by government

Licence verification

The Government of Canada aims to reduce the risk of non-restricted firearms being sold or given to those without a valid licence. The legislation requires individuals and businesses transferring a non-restricted firearm to confirm the validity of the firearms licence of the person acquiring it with the Registrar of Firearms prior to completing the transfer.

Record-keeping among commercial retailers

The legislation requires firearms businesses to retain sales and inventory records related to non-restricted firearms, as was the case between 1979 and 2005, in order to strengthen commercial retail due diligence practices and support the tracing of firearms. Tracing firearms is useful in informing law enforcement during criminal investigations.

Expanded background checks

The legislation requires expanded background checks over the lifetime of an applicant seeking to acquire a firearms licence rather than just the five years immediately preceding the application. It will also add criteria that must be considered in deciding whether to grant a firearms licence, including a history of harassment, whether the applicant was ever subject to a restraining order, and whether the applicant poses a risk of harm to any person.

Specific transportation authorizations for restricted and prohibited firearms

The legislation has re-instated the requirement to apply for an Authorization to Transport restricted and prohibited firearms to locations other than a shooting range, or to the firearm's storage place after purchase.

The impartial, professional, accurate and consistent determination of firearms classification

The Government of Canada will ensure the impartial, professional, accurate and consistent determination of firearms classification as either "non-restricted" "restricted" or "prohibited" - restoring a system in which Parliament defines the classes but entrusts technical experts to make a classification determination objectively based on criteria under the Criminal Code.

For details specific to the implementation of former Bill C-71, refer to the Canadian Firearms Program website or call 1-800-731-4000.

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