Photo Credit: Claudia Ferris

Your Firearms Rights

Take a Stand on the Ban Against RCMP-vetted Gun Owners

How Important are your firearms to you?

 

Firearms legislation is being introduced at all levels of government. An overview and the impact is outlined below.

The BCWF Firearms Committee and Recreational Sport Shooting Committee are working diligently to advocate against these unreasonable bans and regulations.

It’s easy to be cynical, and it’s harder to stand up for what you believe. We are speaking up for you, and we ask that you take whatever effort you can to oppose legislation that will directly impact all our shooting ranges.

Federal

 

How can you take action?

We encourage BCWF members to join us in contacting your MP. We need allies in this battle against unreasonable bans and regulations.

The BCWF has created a “Best Practices” guide on meeting with your government officials. For more information, please visit our Advocacy page for more information.

For more information about Bill C-21, please refer to background material here.

See below for the 2021 BCWF summary of 4 major federal party positions on your firearms.

 

Provincial

The province introduced Bill-4, the Firearm Violence Prevention Act, into the B.C. Legislature on March 3, 2021. Bill-4 consists of unnecessary restrictions that either duplicate the existing Criminal Code or impose additional and confusing provincial offences with no likelihood of reducing violent crime. Bill-4 will create additional administrative burdens and costs, directly and immediately harm many lawful citizens, and negatively impact Public Safety and Security. Many of the small and mediums size ranges in B.C. that also are used for training Law Enforcement Officers will likely have to close.

We encourage BCWF members and shooting clubs to join us in contacting your local MLA. A Bill 4 template letter has been prepared for shooting clubs, BCWF members and concerned members of the public. There is also a second Bill 4 template letter here. You are encouraged to share these letters widely.

On March 18, 2021 BCWF President Bill Bosch sent this letter to Premier Horgan on behalf of the members and clubs.

In the spring of 2021, the efforts of the Recreational Sports Shooting Committee (RSSC) and Firearms Committee were focused on responding to B.C. Bill 4, meeting with four MLAs, and members of the Ministry of Public Safety and the Attorney General. The committees raised a specific concern with Part 4 of the Bill, duty to require identification from shooting range user, paragraph 30, which broadly states that the operator must require shooting range users to produce prescribed identification. They underscored that many clubs do not have duty staff, and that complying with this will be an expensive administrative burden at best. It is interesting that some of the committees’ concerns were later registered by the government and appear in a government letter requesting feedback on Bill-4.

We have also prepared background materials on the new provincial Bill-4 here.

Municipal

Under Bill C-21, municipal bylaws would be enforced by Ottawa by introducing conditions on legally registered handguns and, therefore, Bill C-21 ignores illegal handguns. If a municipality were to ban handguns, the RCMP would simply revoke the registrations of all legal handguns in that municipality.

Because Bill C-21 ignores unregistered handguns, a municipal bylaw activated under Bill C-21 could not stop anyone from using an illegal handgun.

Please use the template letter created by the Firearms and Recreational Sports Shooting Committees for meeting with Mayor and Councils.

You are also able to communicate with two Mayors in the Lower Mainland who have expressed support for municipal hand gun bans by completing the letter below.

How can you take action?

We encourage BCWF members to join us in contacting your local municipal leaders, MP or MLA. We have prepared background materials that address federal legislation (Bill C-71), including municipal bylaw-driven gun bans, and now, the new provincial Bill-4. Keep in touch; let us know how your meetings go, and if there are any questions raised that the materials we have created have not addressed.

Resources:
The BCWF has created a “Best Practices” guide on meeting with your government officials. For more information, please visit our Advocacy page for more information.
If possible, meet with and talk with any local community organization, such as Rotary or Kiwanis, that would be willing to listen to you.

Please use the template letter created by the Firearms and Recreational Sports Shooting Committees for meeting with Mayor and Councils.

Bill C-21 Overview

The federal government says Bill C-21 is designed to keep firearms off the streets. The bill grants municipalities power to regulate the storage and transportation of restricted weapons [handguns] by lawful owners. Canadians are legitimately concerned about increasing gun violence from gangs, but BCWF analysis finds nothing in the bill to address these concerns.
· C-21 is not “taking guns off the streets”; it’s taking them “off provincially licensed ranges.”
· C-21 is not a “gun ban” against criminals; it’s a “ban against RCMP-vetted gun owners.”
· C-21 is not “making cities safer”; it’s “taking police resources away from gangs and guns units” to waste energy on already RCMP-vetted hunters and sport shooters.
· Why ban BB and airsoft “guns?” They are not “gateway guns.” They are “toys.”
Bill C-21 legislation focuses on lawful owners – who are not the problem. The bill invents excessive regulations that will not address the real problems that Canada needs to address, e.g. gun violence, violent gangs and smuggled guns.

For more information about Bill C-21, please refer to the background material here.

Meet with your Local MP

Follow your letter up with a meeting with your local MP for a more significant impact.

Speaking Points

The committees have prepared speaking notes around a number of issues to assist you to educate your MP. Whether it’s a proposed ban on long guns, or restrictions around transportation, your MP needs to hear from their constituents on the impact the new legislation will have.

FAQ

What is the BCWF’s position on the latest gun-ban implemented by the Trudeau Liberal government?

The BCWF cannot support the federal government’s arbitrary decision to prohibit and confiscate over 1,500 types of firearms on what appears to be cosmetic features. All of these firearms were legally-owned by many Canadians. The government’s criteria for banning firearms were not clearly stated. This regulation bears the mark of a hasty, irrational process that was intended to divide Canadians. The ban alienated millions of law-abiding Canadians, and it is not a public safety measure. It was imposed by Order-in-Council in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic at a time when Parliament was barely functional.

What does the BCWF plan to do on behalf of the firearms community in response to this new ban?

The BCWF has written the Prime Minister and other governmental authorities to protest this arbitrary and irrational action. Being a charity, BCWF cannot engage in partisan activity, but our members should take action. BCWF urges members to contact their MP personally and to sign petitions.

What firearms did the Order-in-Council prohibit on Friday, May 1, 2020?

Through an Order in Council (Cabinet decision), Criminal Code regulations (SOR/2020-96) prohibited approximately 1,500 types of firearms. The OIC includes a wide range of previously restricted as well as non-restricted firearms, including even a few already prohibited that are banned again. The OIC also includes some rimfire firearms that are listed contrary to the stated selection criteria.

The government’s claim is that “military-style assault weapons” were banned. The term “military-style assault weapons” is a red herring. It has no agreed-upon meaning and was used as a cover term to let the government ban whatever it wanted to include. Real military assault rifles, such as the M-16, were already banned in the 1970s.

The ban included a variety of semi-automatic firearms that can be made to look like military rifles but are not, as well as crew-served military armament, such as missile launchers, howitzers, anti-tank weapons (many dating back to World War II); also included are military antiques. These prohibitions will create serious problems for Canadian museums but not for thugs and gangsters.

The government published  a summary list of some of the newly prohibited guns:

Carbine M16, M4, AR-10 and AR-15

Ruger mini-14 rifle and Ruger mini-30 rifle

Swiss Arms, Classic Green model

M14 rifle

Vz58 rifle

Cz Scorpion EVO 3 pistol rifle

Beretta CX4 Storm rifle

Rifle and pistol SIG Sauer SIG MCX and SIG MPX

Armament Robinson XCR

A longer list (but still incomplete) can be found in the Canada Gazette:

http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2020/2020-05-01-x3/html/sor-dors96-eng.html

In addition to prohibiting a list of a large number of semi-automatic rifles and militaria, the OIC set out two criteria for banning firearms:

#95 those with a bore diameter of 20 mm or higher, and (#96) any that are capable of exceeding a 10,000-joule threshold.

#95 Any firearm with a bore diameter of 20 mm or greater — other than one designed exclusively for the purpose of neutralizing explosive devices.

#96 Any firearm capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 joules — other than one designed exclusively for the purpose of neutralizing explosive devices.

#96 would include big bore hunting rifles for use in Africa, such as the bolt action Weatherby Mark V 460 sporting rifle.

What can I do if I own one of the newly prohibited firearms (or one of the mortars or grenade launchers)?

There was an amnesty issued for all owners in another OIC (SOR 2020/97) on May 1. The prohibitions and the amnesty came into effect immediately on May 1. The government states that the amnesty is to “protect individuals who were in lawful possession of one or more of the newly prohibited firearms … on the day the Regulations came into force, from criminal liability for unlawful possession …” The amnesty expires on April 30, 2022.

The RCMP announced the following rules and recommendations:

The newly prohibited firearms:

 

  • May not be used for hunting or sport shooting, either at a range or elsewhere;
  • May not be bought, sold, lent, or imported;
  • May not be transported unless provided in the amnesty;
  • Must be stored in accordance with the storage regulations for the firearm class prior to prohibition;
  • Lawful owners may export a prohibited firearm if they have proper export authorization;
  • Lawful owners may contact police to arrange disposition without compensation;
  • Owners must not bring a firearm to a police station unless they have made an appointment to surrender it.
Were 12 gauge shotguns banned?

It’s hard to say. The BCWF is seeking clarity on this issue. However, it will have to be decided in court.

According to a solid legal opinion, 12 gauge shotguns, particularly those with adjustable chokes, fall under section 95, that any firearm with a bore greater than 20 mm is now prohibited. However, the RCMP posted that normal 12 gauge shotguns were not banned. However, posts on the RCMP website may change at any time. The key is how the inner bore is measured.

Ordinary 12 gauge shotguns may fall under section 96 as well, that of being capable of exceeding the limit of 10,000 joules. The problem here is the word “capable” of doing so. Few 12 gauges typically exceed this limit; it’s not practical, not common, but a 12 gauge is “capable.” Courts will ultimately have to decide. Firearms dealers in both the US and Canada are told to consider them prohibited weapons. Owners are warned not to use any prohibited firearm.

The RCMP has also recently changed the status of a wide range of rifles and shotguns to prohibited in the Firearms Reference Table (FRT). It’s not clear if these changes are part of the OIC or due to the RCMP unilaterally initiating reclassifications.

Here’s a list of firearms variants whose FRT entries have been changed to prohibited, but were not in the gazette.
https://www.armalytics.ca/oic-additional-firearms

Examples of shotguns that have been subsequently prohibited are:

  • Adler B210 Bolt-Action Shotgun
  • AlphaArms 15SA Semi-Automatic Shotgun
  • Canuck Havoc Pump-Action Shotgun
  • Eternal FX12 Semi-Automatic Shotgun

So contrary to statements by the Minister, many shotguns have been banned, including pump and bolt action models.  Further, there is no simple way to know if the owner of a previously legal firearm is now a criminal.

For more information, see these web sites:

https://twitter.com/BillBlair/media

https://twitter.com/InfoCSAAA/status/1261314512428453890

Will the newly prohibited firearms be grandfathered?

There is no provision in the OIC for grandfathering, but Trudeau Tweeted that prohibited firearms would be grandfathered. Rumour has it that grandfathering will not be included in the eventual legislation. We have also heard that previously prohibited firearms that have been grandfathered in the past may also be included as part of the “buy back” and confiscated.

Were just military-style semi-automatic rifles banned?

A wide range of common popular firearms were banned, including, big-bore bolt-action hunting rifles.

In addition, the ban includes a number of crew-served military weapons, such as 60mm and 120mm mortars and anti-tank weapons, missile launchers, howitzers, some dating back to World War II, even earlier. These prohibitions will create serious problems for Canadian museums but not for thugs and gangsters.

The government’s criteria for selecting firearms were not clearly stated. This entire regulation bears the mark of a hasty irrational process that was intended to divide Canadians. Some of the firearms listed in the regulation that are now classified as prohibited have the same specifications as other firearms not on the list.

In addition to banning popular sporting semi-automatics, such as the Ruger Mini-14, Ruger Mini-30, and the AR-15, the ban included bolt-action firearms and some shotguns that were caught in the bore-diameter restrictions, and even some rimfire firearms that are listed contrary to the stated selection criteria.

The government claimed the banned firearms were “not suitable for hunting or sport shooting,” but simultaneously they provided an exemption for Indigenous owners to use the newly banned firearms for hunting purposes. In fact, many of the firearms have been safely used for hunting and sport shooting for decades by Canadians.

At least one bolt-action firearm was included (due to the muzzle energy restriction), and 10 and 12 gauge shotguns were caught in the bore diameter restrictions. Also banned were 8-gauge industrial tools. The list also included some rimfire firearms, even though they are listed contrary to the government’s stated selection criteria.

Apparently, an airsoft gun, the Blackwater BW-15, was also prohibited, possibly because it shares the same name as an AR-15 variant.

The list also included many mortars and wheel-mounted, crew-served, tow-behind-vehicle 37mm anti-tank ‘rifles.’ Ammunition for these had already long been prohibited. Needless to say, these military weapons do not pose a threat to public safety.

Why do people own the kinds of semi-automatic guns that were banned?

Mostly to participate in sport shooting, but also for hunting, where legally permitted, and for protecting crops and farm animals from predators.

Sport shooting is a hobby in Canada that actually has a larger participation rate than golf and ranges from just personal challenges to esteemed competitions like the Canadian Service Rifle Championship that takes place over the last 100 years in Canada between members of the military, and public and is usually won by a civilian every year. This ban eliminated that competition.

This is the destruction of Canadian history. Canadians have a long and proud military tradition. But now military competitions are illegal and subject to a 5-year criminal charge. Moreover, shooting is a big Canadian industry and accounts for 8 billion dollars a year and employs thousands. This ban destroyed over a million dollars in inventory that Canadian businesses will not be able to recoup their investments.

Many semi-automatic rifles are legal for hunting. Some semi-automatic firearms, like the AR-15, were restricted so they could only be used at shooting ranges. After May 1, the AR-15, and many others, are now prohibited, so they are “safe queens.”

Semi-automatic firearms are quite popular with hunters in the US. In Canada, such rifles are also used for hunting, including by Indigenous people. While falsely claiming that the banned firearms could not be used for hunting, Indigenous hunters were exempted from the ban so that they could use them for hunting.

Here is a slide show with pictures of Canadians hunting with some of the newly prohibited rifles.

https://www.rangebob.com/Canada/Hunting/slideshow.html

Is there truth to the Prime Minister’s claim that these firearms have no hunting or sporting purpose?

There are quite a few firearms on the ban list that have been used for hunting, and excel at that purpose. For example, non-restricted variants of the AR-10 like the BCL 102 have been used for hunting large game for years, and have never been used in crimes/shooting in Canada, yet they still get the unjust wrath of the Liberal government. Furthermore, the Liberal government has decided to continue to allow Indigenous peoples to continue to use these firearms for the next two years for hunting despite the ban.

The claim that there is no sporting use for these rifles ignores decades of shooting competitions and events held by owners of restricted rifles, for example, the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association, IPSC, and the military. It is important that Canadian civilians practice with military rifles. No one knows what the future will hold. In future wars, Canada may need to rely upon civilian recruitment again, as was done in WW I and WW II.

Indeed, the RCMP had been providing authority to transport certificates to likely over 100,000 citizens for decades to permit them to take restricted rifles to sports shooting events across Canada and internationally.  It is hard to count the lies.

Are semi-automatic rifles that look like military rifles a threat to public safety?

No. From a public safety point of view, these rifles pose no more added danger than any other hunting rifle in Canada. Rifles are infrequently used in homicides. Semi-automatic rifles were limited to 5 round magazines back in the early 1990s under the Kim Campbell Progressive Conservative government.

There is no good peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating that bans or buybacks work to reduce homicide or other criminal, violent acts, or suicide.

Actual military rifles (which have the capability of firing full automatic) have been banned for purchase in Canada since the 1970s.