What you need to know about the Government of Canada’s new prohibition on certain firearms and devices

Important notice

As a result of the May 1, 2020 Order in Council (OIC) amending the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components, and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted ("Regulation") under the Criminal Code, a letter was recently sent out to individuals/businesses to inform them that their previously registered restricted firearms are now prohibited and their registration certificates became nullified. This nullification is the result of the legislative change to the Criminal Code Regulations and not the result of any decision by the Registrar to revoke the registration certificates under the Firearms Act. Accordingly, the letter is not a Firearm Registration Certificate Revocation Notice.

The Amnesty Order protects owners who held a valid registration certificate for the newly prohibited firearms on April 30th, 2020.

What are your options now?

  • Wait for further instructions to participate in the buy-back program
  • Have your firearm deactivated by an approved firearms business and advise the Registrar of Firearms once completed
  • Legally export your firearm, in which case you can engage a businesses with the proper firearm licence privilege. Once exported you are requested to advise the Registrar of Firearms

How this prohibition affects owners of these firearms.

On May 1, 2020, the Government of Canada has prohibited:

  • nine (9) types of firearms, by make and model, and their variants; and
  • firearms with a bore of 20 mm or greater, and those firearms capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 Joules; and
  • the upper receivers of M16, AR-10, AR-15 and M4 pattern firearms.

Details on the announcement are available on the Public Safety Canada website.

A list of newly prohibited firearms and devices is available online in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

On this page

Firearms and devices that are now prohibited

The following nine (9) types of firearms and their variants are now prohibited:

  • M16, AR-10, AR-15 rifles and M4 carbine
  • Ruger Mini-14 rifle
  • M14 rifle
  • Vz58 rifle
  • Robinson Armament XCR rifle
  • CZ Scorpion EVO 3 carbine and pistol
  • Beretta CX4 Storm carbine
  • SIG Sauer SIG MCX and SIG Sauer SIG MPX carbine and pistol
  • Swiss Arms Classic Green and Four Seasons series (as specified in former Bill C-71)

Also now prohibited are firearms with the following characteristics:

  • capable of discharging a projectile with a muzzle energy greater than 10,000 Joules
  • a bore of 20 mm or greater

Upper receivers of M16, AR-10, AR-15 and M4 pattern firearms are also now prohibited devices.

See the Canada Gazette, Part II for a list of newly prohibited firearms and devices.

Amnesty Order for newly prohibited firearms or devices

An Amnesty Order is in effect until April 30, 2022 to protect individuals who were in legal possession of one or more of these newly prohibited firearms or devices on the day the amendments to the Classification Regulations came into force (May 1, 2020), from criminal liability for unlawful possession. It also provides owners with the time to come into compliance with the law.

Government officials are currently in the process of refining requirements and developing program design and implementation options for a buyback program. Further information on the design of the buyback program will be communicated to Canadians in due course. Until the buyback program is implemented, anyone who possesses a newly prohibited firearm must ensure it is securely stored in accordance with the storage requirements for that classification of firearm before it was prohibited. These firearms cannot be legally used, sold or imported, and can only be transported or transferred within Canada under certain conditions as provided under the amnesty, such as deactivating the firearm or returning the firearm to the residence of the lawful owner.

If you relinquish a newly prohibited firearm or device before the implementation of the buy-back program, you won't be eligible for compensation once the program is announced.

Note: If you wish to surrender your firearm without compensation, please do not bring it to a local police detachment. Instead, call the non-emergency police line for your local detachment and you will be given instructions on how to safely surrender your firearm. In the meantime, please do not use your newly prohibited firearm and continue to keep it securely stored.

How this prohibition affects owners of these firearms

Effective immediately:

  • Owners of newly prohibited firearms and devices are to keep them securely stored in accordance with their previous classification. The Display, Storage, Transportation and Handling of Firearms by Individuals Regulations (the Regulations) are available on the Department of Justice website.
  • Newly prohibited firearms and devices cannot be sold or imported.
  • Newly prohibited firearms and devices may only be transported under limited circumstances.Footnote 1
  • Newly prohibited firearms and devices cannot be legally used for hunting unless allowed through the amnesty.Footnote 2
  • Newly prohibited firearms cannot be used for sport shooting, either at a range or elsewhere.

This announcement may impact your business as you may have these newly prohibited firearms/devices in your inventory. While awaiting further details on the buy-back program, every effort should be made to return the inventory back to the manufacturer. Please note:

  • They may no longer be sold to individuals.
  • They can be transferred to another business with the appropriate licence privileges.
  • If firearms are taken on consignment, they must be returned to the owner.
  • If the appropriate activity and conditions are attached to the business licence for prohibited firearms, the business can act as an agent for export or deactivation for an individual or other business.

Businesses that are licensed to possess prohibited firearms will maintain this privilege, but should familiarize themselves with the list of newly prohibited firearms and devices.

Update on 10 and 12 gauge shotgun classification under the new prohibition

On May 1st, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it had made amendments to the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited, Restricted or Non-Restricted (SOR/98-462) [Classification Regulations] prescribing certain firearms as prohibited. One of the categories of the newly prohibited firearms include "Any firearm with a bore diameter of 20 mm or greater" (s. 95 of the Classification Regulations).

The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) of the RCMP adheres to the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners' (AFTE) definition for bore diameter measurements. "The interior dimensions of the barrel forward of the chamber but before the choke." (Glossary of the Association of Firearm & Tool Mark Examiners by the AFTE Standardization Committee, 1st Ed. 1980). This is reflected in the RCMP's Firearms Reference Table (FRT) which clearly states that "...in shotguns, diameter of the barrel forward of the chamber but before the choke." The CFP also recognizes the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) standards regarding firearms and ammunition. The SAAMI chamber specifications for 10ga and 12ga shotguns do not include chokes therefore indicating that chokes are not part of the bore. Accordingly, it is the CFP's view that, in accordance with acceptable firearms industry standards for shotguns, the bore diameter measurement is considered to be at a point after the chamber, but before the choke.

Further, in making classification assessments of firearms which are reflected in the FRT, the CFP relies on recognized industry standard measurements. With respect to 10ga and 12ga shotguns, the CFP recognizes the SAAMI standard specifications which establish that the nominal (i.e. standard) bore diameter measurements for 10ga and 12ga shotguns are below the 20mm threshold (19.69mm for 10ga, 18.42mm for 12ga).

Next steps

The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) will be contacting all individual firearms license holders and firearms businesses in Canada to inform them of the new prohibitions.

If you have moved, please notify the CFP immediately of your new address, if you have not already done so.

More information on the buy-back program will be available at a later date.

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