November 7, 2006
Firearms are exempt from the requirements of the Firearms Act if the Registrar of Firearms is satisfied that the firearms have been made incapable of discharging projectiles that can cause serious injury or death and therefore, no longer meet the definition of a firearm.
The Registrar has developed new guidelines to ensure that firearms are sufficiently modified to be exempt from the definition of a firearm. Businesses and individuals whose firearms have been deactivated according to the guidelines are protected from criminal liability for possessing those firearms without a valid licence or registration certificate.
The basic instructions for deactivating a firearm have not changed compared to previous guidelines. However, the new guidelines now stress that modifications to deactivate a firearm must be permanent, meaning that they must be done in such a way to make it extremely difficult to reactivate the firearm. Further, someone licensed as a gunsmith under the Firearms Act must confirm that the firearm has been modified according to the instructions set out in the guidelines.
The Registrar must be notified in writing whenever a firearm is modified in a way that significantly changes its description, including when it is deactivated. A new notification form, requiring the signature of a licensed gunsmith, has been developed for this purpose.
The new standards will not affect the status of firearms that the Registrar has already deemed to be deactivated unless there is reason to believe that the firearms have been, or could easily be, reactivated. Reactivated firearms once again become subject to the licence and registration requirements of the Firearms Act.
If you have firearms that you did not register because you considered them to be deactivated, and therefore exempt from the registration requirements, and now have any questions about the deactivation of a firearm, call 1 800 731-4000.
Different countries have different deactivation standards. Even if an imported firearm has been deactivated, it will be treated as an active firearm until it is in Canada and the deactivation can be confirmed by a licensed gunsmith. To import such a firearm, you need a valid licence allowing you to import that class of firearm and you need to register the firearm. Once a licensed gunsmith in Canada has confirmed that the firearm modifications meet Canadian deactivation standards, the firearm may be deregistered.
The regulations pertaining to the safe storage and transportation of firearms do not apply to firearms that have been deregistered due to deactivation. It remains important, however, to store and transport them safely to deter loss or theft.
For more information, contact the CFP.
This bulletin is intended to provide general information only. For legal references, please refer to the Firearms Act and its Regulations. Provincial, territorial and municipal laws, regulations and policies may also apply.
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