Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations: SOR/2018-239
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 152, Number 24
SOR/2018-239 November 9, 2018
P.C. 2018-1389 November 8, 2018
Whereas the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is of the opinion that the change made to the Firearms Marking Regulationsfootnote a by the annexed Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations is so immaterial and insubstantial that section 118 of the Firearms Actfootnote b should not be applicable in the circumstances;
And whereas the Minister 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, Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to section 117footnote c of the Firearms Actfootnote b, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations.
Regulations Amending the Firearms Marking Regulations
1 Section 6 of the Firearms Marking Regulations footnote 1 is replaced by the following:
6 These Regulations come into force on December 1, 2020.
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.)
Additional time is required to develop amendments to the Firearms Marking Regulations (the Regulations) in order to ensure they achieve their intended purpose, which is to facilitate the ability of law enforcement to trace the criminal use of firearms. Deferral of the coming into force of the Regulations from December 1, 2018, to December 1, 2020, is required.
The primary purpose for marking firearms is to enable law enforcement to trace crime gunsfootnote 2 and to combat the trafficking and stockpiling of firearms, in the interest of public safety and national security. Firearms tracing is a best practice undertaken at the outset of an investigation. It forms a key component of treaties of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) and is an essential tool of Interpol and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Tracing is the systematic tracking of the history of recovered or seized firearms from the point of manufacture or importation, through the supply chain, until they became illicit. Tracing can offer early investigative leads, contribute to cost efficiencies by linking crime guns to businesses in Canada rather than overseas, focus investigations, given that time is critical to solving crimes and help to build a strong evidentiary case to obtain a conviction.
The marking of specific information on firearms is one of several requirements of 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). These international treaties seek to counter the illegal production and movement of firearms by enabling crime guns to be traced in order to combat terrorism, organized crime and other criminal activities. Canada signed the UN Firearms Protocol in 2002 and CIFTA in 1997, but has not yet ratified either of these treaties.
In order to comply with these treaties, Canada would be required, among other things, to administer a scheme for the marking of firearms. In addition to being treaty imperatives, firearms markings have value for domestic law enforcement as they can be used to combat the criminal use of firearms and to return a stolen firearm to its lawful owner.
The Regulations, drafted to respond to the aforementioned international treaties, were made by the Governor in Council in 2004 but not brought into force. The Regulations stipulate the type of markings that need to be permanently stamped or engraved on the frame or receiver of all firearms manufactured in, or imported into, Canada. Currently, the Regulations provide that domestically manufactured firearms must bear the name of the manufacturer, the 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. “18” for 2018. The markings must be of specific dimensions to prevent obliteration of the data and allow for tracing.
In response to requests by firearms businesses for additional preparatory time, the coming into force of the Regulations was changed to 2006 and subsequently deferred eight times. The last deferral changed the coming-into-force date of the Regulations from June 1, 2017, to December 1, 2018.
With tracing, firearms are matched to existing records. However, the utility of the existing Regulations has been diminished by the destruction of the long-gun registry (i.e. the destruction of approximately 90% of records for firearms in Canada) and the absence of record-keeping requirements for businesses.
The efficiencies of tracing are realized when a record of the most recent legal owner can be linked to a specific combination of information (serial number, name of manufacturer, etc.), which is marked on the firearm. Consequently, the requirements of the existing Regulations are not sufficient to uniquely identify the legal owner of the firearm in order to facilitate tracing.
The deferral of the coming into force of the Regulations permits the Government of Canada to continue developing amendments to the Regulations so that they achieve their intended purpose of enabling the tracing of crime guns by law enforcement agencies. Over the course of the next 24 months, a marking regime will be developed in order to improve the effectiveness of the Regulations.
This amendment defers the coming-into-force date of the Regulations by another 24 months, from December 1, 2018, to December 1, 2020.
The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this amendment, since there is no change in administrative costs for businesses.
Small business lens
The small business lens does not apply to this amendment, since there are no costs to small businesses.
Consultations took place during the previous deferral period with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and have also been initiated, in March and May of 2017, through the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee. The Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee includes representatives from the legal community, law enforcement, tourism and agriculture industries, shooting sports associations and women’s and victims’ groups.
The consultations with the RCMP, CBSA and GAC led to the conclusion that bringing the Regulations into force without addressing the record-keeping issues associated with the aforementioned destruction of the long-gun registry would not help to facilitate the effective tracing of non-restricted crime guns. If the Regulations were to be implemented as currently drafted, the intended benefits of these Regulations to public safety would not be realized.
Some firearms advocates have consistently discouraged the bringing into force of the Regulations because they perceive them to be both unnecessary and costly. Law enforcement representatives support the bringing into force of the Regulations, given the value of markings for firearms tracing and criminal investigations and, in turn, the associated benefits to public safety and national security.
With the deferral of the coming into force of the Regulations, the Government of Canada will have additional time to develop amendments to the Regulations that would be beneficial to domestic and international law enforcement and manageable for firearms businesses. This work began during the previous deferral period, but more time is required due to the complexity of the issue.
Given that this amendment only modifies the coming-into-force date of the Regulations, there are no costs associated with it.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
The Regulations would come into force on December 1, 2020.
The amendment defers the coming-into-force date of regulatory requirements that have not yet been implemented. Accordingly, no enforcement issues have been identified.
The RCMP Canadian Firearms Program will inform firearms businesses and law enforcement stakeholders of the deferral of the coming-into-force date through the RCMP’s website.
Firearms and Operational Policing Policy Directorate
Public Safety Canada
269 Laurier Avenue West