The Liberals unveiled sweeping new gun laws this week. The new gun control laws in Bill C-71 will make business much tougher for gun store owners and have been called “civil disarmament” by gun owners. Acumen Law Corporation lawyers Paul Doroshenko and Kyla Lee break down how Canada’s new gun control legislation will impact gun owners in the latest episode of Justice Radio.
While the Liberals claim this new bill will not impose a system like the long gun registry on Canadians, the laws do many of the same things. This time, however, they have put the onus for record keeping on gun store owners. You will have to keep records for 20 years if you operate a gun store under these new laws.
The laws also give the RCMP the ability to classify guns without providing notice of the changes in the law, meaning a law-abiding gun owner could suddenly find themselves breaking the law because of a change in classification.
Currently, a gun in Canada could be labelled as unrestricted, restricted, or prohibited. Non-restricted firearms are ordinary rifles and shotguns, although there are some exceptions.
A prohibited firearm includes:
- handguns with a barrel length of 105 mm or less and handguns that discharge .25 or .32 calibre ammunition, except for a few specific ones used in International Shooting Union competitions;
- rifles and shotguns that have been altered by sawing or other means so that their barrel length is less than 457 mm or their overall length is less than 660 mm;
- converted automatics, namely full automatics that have been altered so that they fire only one projectile when the trigger is squeezed;
- firearms prohibited by Criminal Code Regulations.
A restricted firearm includes:
- handguns that are not prohibited;
- semi-automatic, centre-fire rifles and shotguns with a barrel shorter than 470 mm;
- rifles and shotguns that can be fired when their overall length has been reduced by folding, telescoping or other means to less than 660 mm;
- firearms restricted by Criminal Code Regulations.
If the RCMP decide to redesignate a firearm you own, you could be guilty of a serious offence.
What might this look like? Let’s say you have a grandparent who is a gun owner who has in their possession a firearm that, because of changes in the law, is now considered a restricted or prohibited weapon. If you have to move or transport the weapon, or if possession of the weapon falls to you, you could find yourself on the wrong end of the law.
If you have a question about a gun you have in your possession, your best bet is to contact a lawyer. Our lawyers know about firearm safety and can tell you about your legal position when dealing with gun ownership. Call us for a free consultation.