ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 26 — December 19, 2012

Registration

SOR/2012-251 November 30, 2012

FIREARMS ACT

Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations

P.C. 2012-1585 November 29, 2012

Whereas the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is of the opinion that the change made to the Firearms Marking Regulations (see footnote a) by the annexed Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations is so immaterial and insubstantial that section 118 of the Firearms Act (see footnote b) should not be applicable in the circumstances;

And whereas the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will, in accordance with subsection 119(4) of that Act, have a statement of the reasons why he formed that opinion laid before each House of Parliament;

Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to section 117 (see footnote c) of the Firearms Act (see footnote d), makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations.

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE FIREARMS MARKING REGULATIONS

AMENDMENT

1. Section 6 of the Firearms Marking Regulations (see footnote 1) is replaced by the following:

6. These Regulations come into force on December 1, 2013.

COMING INTO FORCE

2. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

REGULATORY IMPACT
ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Executive summary

Issues: Deferral of the existing Firearms Marking Regulations (Regulations) so that they do not come into force on December 1, 2012.

Description: The existing Firearms Marking Regulations, which are being deferred, were drafted to respond to the international treaties of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. The marking of firearms is one of several requirements of these international treaties to facilitate police crime gun investigations. The existing Regulations were approved by the Governor in Council in 2004 but not implemented. They stipulate the markings that need to be permanently stamped or engraved on the frame or receiver of all firearms imported into, or manufactured in, Canada.

Cost-benefit statement: There are no costs with this deferral. The benefit will be to allow sufficient time for fulsome consultations regarding amendments to the Firearms Marking Regulations.

“One-for-One” Rule and small business lens: This rule does not apply, since with the deferral, the existing Regulations will not come into force. Consequently, the deferral will not result in any change in administrative costs to firearms businesses.

Domestic and international coordination and cooperation: Canada has signed, but not ratified, the United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (UN Firearms Protocol) [2002] and the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA) [1997]. The existing Regulations, which were drafted to reflect the requirements of the treaties, are being deferred from coming into force. With the deferral of the existing Regulations, and as a result of the elimination of record-keeping requirements for non-restricted firearms, Canada would not be in a position to ratify these treaties.

Background

Firearms Marking Regulations(existing Regulations)

Canada has signed, but not ratified, the United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (see footnote 2) (UN Firearms Protocol) [2002] and the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (see footnote 3) (CIFTA) [1997]. The marking of firearms is one of several requirements of these international treaties. In order to comply with these agreements, Canada requires regulations for the marking of firearms. In addition to being treaty imperatives, firearms markings have value for domestic and international law enforcement as, when coupled with records, they can be used to trace crime guns.

The existing Regulations, drafted to respond to the international treaties, were approved by the Governor in Council in 2004 but not implemented. They stipulate the markings that need to be permanently stamped or engraved on the frame or receiver of all firearms imported into, or manufactured in, Canada. Domestically manufactured firearms must bear the name of the manufacturer, serial number and “Canada” or “CA”; imported firearms must be marked with “Canada” or “CA” and the last two digits of the year of import (e.g. “12” for 2012). These existing Regulations will be deferred so that they do not come into force.

In response to requests by firearms businesses for additional preparatory time, the coming into force of the existing Regulations was amended to April 1, 2006, deferred to December 1, 2007, and deferred again to December 1, 2009. During the 2007–2009 deferral period, an independent study was undertaken by Government Consulting Services Canada to look at the utility of markings from a law enforcement perspective, the various marking technologies available, and the implications for the Canadian firearms industry and users. The study found that markings help to expedite law enforcement tracing efforts by focusing investigations to the last legal owner of the firearm or the most recent country of import, rather than to the manufacturer. The study further determined that the cost to stamp or engrave markings would be low for Canadian manufacturers and large importers (i.e. ranging from zero to $25 per firearm depending on when markings are applied), although it was not possible to determine the financial impact on individuals and small importers.

The existing Regulations were deferred again until December 1, 2010, to consider a proposal from the firearms industry to place the information required by international treaties on adhesive metallic strips. The existing Regulations were subsequently deferred to December 1, 2012, to permit examination of program design and implementation issues associated with the current (e.g. permanent stamping or engraving) and alternative (e.g. adhesive metallic strip) marking options in order to determine a marking scheme that would contribute to public safety, meet international obligations, minimize costs to the Canadian firearms industry and firearms owners, and facilitate law enforcement tracing efforts.

Consequently, in 2011, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) conducted tests examining the industry proposal to mark firearms with adhesive metallic strips. Working with industry, adhesive technologies known to be among the strongest binding agents available were identified for testing. The RCMP subjected these adhesives to conditions (e.g. extreme temperature variations) and elements (e.g. cleaning solvents) to which firearms are commonly exposed. It was concluded that the marking of firearms with adhesive metallic strips is not practically viable given the challenges in ensuring adequate adhesion under a range of conditions.

Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations

The Government-proposed amendments to the existing Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette on October 13, 2012. (see footnote 4) The existing Regulations would be changed such that firearms manufactured in, or imported to, Canada would be permanently stamped or engraved, on the frame or receiver with a serial number, name of manufacturer and any other markings as required to distinguish them from other firearms. There would be no requirement to mark “Canada” (or “CA”) and, in the case of imported firearms, the year of import. Exempted from the proposed marking requirements would be rare firearms or firearms that are of a value that is unusually high for that type of firearm. With certain exceptions for imported firearms, such as firearms imported for use in a video production, markings would be visible without disassembly using tools or implements.

Issue

To avoid the coming into force on December 1, 2012, of the existing Regulations in order to provide sufficient time for fulsome consultations regarding amendments to the Firearms Marking Regulations.

Objectives

The deferral will provide for fulsome consultations regarding amendments to the Firearms Marking Regulations. Such a deferral will also help to prevent confusion that could arise should the existing Regulations be allowed to come into force, only to be amended shortly thereafter.

Description

The deferral will amend the coming into force date of the existing Firearms Marking Regulations, from December 1, 2012, to December 1, 2013.

Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered

The proposed Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations would require that firearms are permanently stamped or engraved with a serial number, name of manufacturer and any other markings required to distinguish them from other firearms, independent of any other conditions, without imposing an unnecessary burden on law abiding firearms businesses and owners. Since the intention of the Government is to amend the existing Regulations, the move to defer them, in advance of their coming into force, would avoid any possible confusion.

Benefits and costs

There are no costs associated with this deferral. The benefit of the deferral of the existing Regulations will be to allow sufficient time for fulsome consultations regarding amendments to the Firearms Marking Regulations. To bring the existing Regulations into force, followed soon after with amendments, would be confusing and could result in those businesses that are not yet applying import marks potentially incurring a cost.

“One-for-One” Rule

This rule does not apply, since the deferral of the existing Regulations such that they will not come into force will not result in any change in administrative costs to firearms businesses.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to this proposal, as there are no costs to small business.

Consultation

With respect to the proposed Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations, several meetings were held with the Minister of Public Safety Canada’s Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee (CFAC) to consider various issues, including the need for essential identifying information to describe firearms, which would not be costly to businesses or gun purchasers. CFAC is supportive of the deferral to allow for consultation.

Law enforcement representatives, such as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Association, of Police Boards and the Canadian Police Association, were not consulted on the deferral of the existing Regulations. Previously, they expressed support for the existing Regulations, from the perspective of public safety and national security. They are of the view that the markings, in conjunction with the availability of records identifying the last legal transaction relating to the firearm, could expedite investigations by utilizing firearms tracing to assist in solving a specific gun crime or to detect firearms trafficking, smuggling and stockpiling.

Regulatory cooperation

The multilateral agreements to which Canada is a signatory, namely the United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (UN Firearms Protocol) and the Organization of American States Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA) require, among other things, member states to adopt specific firearms markings, record retention and sharing systems to facilitate police crime gun investigations.

The existing Regulations were drafted to respond to the marking requirements of the UN Firearms Protocol and CIFTA. Canada has not ratified these treaties. From Canada’s perspective, all the requirements of these international agreements have to be implemented in our country first, after which consideration of ratification could follow. However, with the deferral of the existing Regulations and as a result of the elimination of record-keeping requirements for non-restricted firearms, Canada would not be in a position to meet the international requirements and to thereby consider ratifying these treaties.

Rationale

The deferral of the existing Regulations to December 1, 2013, will allow for fulsome consultations with respect to possible amendments to the Firearms Marking Regulations.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

These existing Regulations are currently set to come into force on December 1, 2012. Communication efforts will focus on informing firearms businesses and law enforcement stakeholders of the deferral of the existing Regulations, with a news release and information provided by the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program. Other media relations will be handled on a responsive basis.

This present amendment defers the coming into force date of a measure that has not yet been implemented. As a result, no other implementation, enforcement or service standard issues have been identified.

Contact

Lyndon Murdock
Director
269 Laurier Avenue W
Law Enforcement and Policing Branch
Public Safety Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0P8
General inquiries: 613-944-4875
Fax: 613-954-4808
Email: firearms/armesafeu@ps-sp.gc.ca