New 03 March 2005: FA s. 12(3) Converted Semi-Automatic Firearms
Thursday, March 3, 2005
letter below is now somewhat obsolete. The situation will be
transformed on 03 April 2005, IF Bill C-10A is proclaimed and becomes
law, unless Bill C-10A's new Firearms Act subsection 19(2) is not proclaimed and does not become law.
Subsection 19 (2) of Bill C-10A says:
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), an individual may not be authorized
to transport a prohibited firearm, other than a handgun referred to in
subsection 12(6.1) [.25, .32, or barrel equal to or shorter than
105mm/4.14"], under that subsection, except for the purposes referred
to in paragraph [FA s.] (1)(b) [transporting for residence change, for
registration or disposition, for repair, storage, sale, exportation or
appraisal, or to and from a gun show.]
new subsection thus adds a new prohibition to a subsection that used to
allow the issuance of ATTs for FA s. 12(3) firearms for the purposes of
target shooting and demonstrations.
FA s. 12(3) firearms are historically important firearms, and this is
an attempt to prevent them from being seen -- actually firing -- by
anyone. It is a denial of one part of our Canadian firearms heritage.
It is an attempt to take disputes about this issue out of the
hands of the courts.
therefore be fought, and fought hard. If this goes through, and is
accepted, we can expect a ban on all semi-automatic firearms in the
near future -- something that has already happened in Australia. We can
also expect a total ban on all handguns -- something that has already
happened in Britain. THIS IS A TEST TO SEE HOW YOU WILL REACT.
I ask YOU to write a letter to the Minister of Justice:
Hon. Irwin Cotler, MoJ and AG
900 Justice Bldg
House of Commons
copies of your letters to NFA, Box 52183, EDMONTON AB, T6G 2T5, and to
G Breitkreuz, MP, 452-D Centre Block, House of Commons, OTTAWA ON, K1A
0A6, and to your MP.
Tell Mr. Cotler how disgusted you are with his total failure to "reduce violent crime" as his government promised its gun control system would.
him that he cannot "reduce violent crime" by imposing more controls on
honest firearms owners and users, and that you are tired of his Party's
attempts to disguise total failure by attacking us.
Tell him that this latest attack has made you very interested in politics, and that you intend to be very
active in the next federal election -- and that you will work, and
donate, and actively do anything possible to make sure his political
Party is not re-elected.
Tell him you will do this unless Bill C-10A's subsection 19(2) is not proclaimed, and does not become the law of Canada.
The one thing a politician deeply cares about is being re-elected as part of a government.
David A Tomlinson, National President
David Migadel, CFO
720 - 10909 Jasper Ave
05 Jan 2005 ATT12(3)Let
National President of the National Firearms Association, commissioned
me to investigate and report on the issuance of Authroizations to
Transport (ATTs) covering the transportation of firearms defined in
Firearms Act section (FA s.) 12(3) "for use in target practice, or a
target shooting competition, under specified conditions or under the
auspices of a shooting club or shooting range that is approved under
[FA] section 29 [FA s. 18]."
I enclose a copy of my report.
it is quite possible for a firearms control official to read FA s. 18
as precluding him from issuing such an ATT, it is equally possible to
read FA s. 18 as neutral on that question, and leaving the decision to
issue or to refuse to issue in the hands of the issuing official.
official may refuse to issue, provided that he does so in accordance
with the procedure set forth in FA s. 72 to 81. Such a refusal may be
taken, by the applicant, to a reference hearing before a provincial
Until such a
judge has made his ruling on such a case, it is not possible to be
certain which interpretation of the law is correct. Once such a judge
has made such a ruling, it is still not possible to know which ruling
is correct until such a case has been appealed to the Supreme Court of
Canada (SCC), and the SCC has ruled on the issue.
seems certain that refusals will become the subjects of reference
hearings, and that refusals will lead to a long period of uncertainty.
It might be worth while, in the interests of everyone concerned, to
make certain that the issuing officials are aware of the problems, and
of the probable consequences of refusal.
I see it, this situation can develop as a matter of confrontation, or
be resolved peacefully. If the government chooses the confrontational
route, the applicants may well multiply and start an organized campaign
to initiate as many reference hearings as possible -- with some of them
in very awkward locations. The confrontational route leads directly
into major spending by the government, in an area that is already seen
by many taxpayers as the graveyard of far too many tax dollars.
David A Tomlinson, NFA Legal
AUTHORIZATION TO TRANSPORT A FA s. 12(3) FIREARM
first glance, FA s. 18 would appear to preclude issuance of an ATT
covering transport of a FA s. 12(3) firearm "for use in target
practice, or a target shooting competition, under specified conditions
or under the auspices of a shooting club or shooting range that is
approved under [FA] section 29."
it should be noted that while that language explicitly authorizes the
issuance of ATTs covering the use of FA s. 12(6) and 12(7) firearms
"for use in target practice, or a target shooting competition, under
specified conditions or under the auspices of a shooting club or
shooting range that is approved under [FA] section 29," it contains no
language that would prohibit the issuance of ATTs covering FA
s. 12(3) firearms "for use in target practice, or a target shooting
competition, under specified conditions or under the auspices of a
shooting club or shooting range that is approved under [FA] section
29." The section is permissive, not prohibitory.
Regulation 14 of the Special Authority to Possess Regulations is
written as a permissive regulation, not a prohibitory one. It
authorizes a chief firearms officer of a province, in Regulation 4(a)
and (b), to issue authorizations to cover "the possession of a firearm
referred to in section 13 [FA s. 12(2), (3), (4), (5) firearms] "at a
shooting range and in the course of transporting" such a firearm, but
there is no prohibitory language whatever.
"Shooting Clubs and Shooting Ranges" Regulation 1, a "shooting range"
is defined as "a place that is designed and intended for the safe
discharge, on a regular and structured basis, of firearms for the
purpose of target practice or target shooting competitions." Note that
this definition contains no explicit or implied prohibition against the
use of FA s. 12(3) firearms on any shooting range.
there is no prohibition against the issuance of ATTs covering FA s.
12(3) firearms, it appears that the issuance or refusal to issue of an
ATT covering a FA s. 12(3) firearm is left up to the issuing officer,
as a matter of his or her vested discretion. It is apparently not
prohibited by any law or Regulation.
the issuing officer chooses to refuse to issue, he must do so in
accordance with the procedure laid out in FA s. 72 to 81, and the
applicant is entitled to take the refusal before a provincial court
judge. That is an expensive procedure, and it is unquestionably open
for use by the rejected applicant. Given the state of the laws and
Regulations, it is difficult to see how a provincial court judge could
reasonably uphold a refusal to issue.
safety considerations that apply to, say, a Remington Model 740
semi-automatic rifle in calibre .308 Winchester are identical in every
way to those that apply to a FA s. 12(3) rifle in the same calibre.
There is, therefore, no reasonable reason for treating the FA s. 12(3)
rifle in a way that differs from the way the Remington Model 741 is
treated. The two rifles are the same calibre, and have the same
magazine capacity. Both are semi-automatic rifles, both have their
magazine capacities limited to 5 cartridges, and it would be very
difficult to show any difference in danger to others arising from the
use of one that does not also arise from the use of the other.
that, it makes perfect sense to issue ATTs covering FA s. 12(3) rifles
as a matter of routine. Issuance of such ATTs would also tend to reduce
the resentment against the firearms control system and personnel that
arises from refusals based on invalid ideas.
to issue ATTs covering FA s. 12(3) rifles are apparently not justified
by any statute or Regulation. At best, a refusal will result in the
commencement of a reference hearing under FA s. 72 to 81 inclusive.
Given the out-of-control costs of operating the firearms control
system, a wave of expensive reference hearings is undesirable. It would
also be undesirable to fight a series of reference hearings and lose
the cases, because that would increase the resentment against firearms
control personnel who, to many, appear to be "making up their own rules
as they go along."
is a strong desire in the public sector to see the firearms control
system being operated in a reasonable and cost-effective manner. This
appears to be a way for the firearms control system to put it's best
David A Tomlinson, NFA Legal
Canada Firearms Centre has reviewed their interpretation of "Converted
Semi-Automatic" firearms, and that has led to a decision to
not issue any "Special Authority to Possess (SAP)" licencing documents
(ATT equivalents) for these firearms to their legal and lawful owners.
Does this matter? Absolutely!
The National Firearms
Association has asked the Canada Firearms Centre if there have been any
security problems or other issues causing problems that have resulted
from any firearm owners using their 12(3) firearms at shooting ranges.
National Firearms Association provides Liability Insurance coverage to
ranges across Canada, we have not heard of a single issue.
Perhaps the Canada Firearms Centre has forgotten what the Auditor General wrote in 2002:
The program became excessively regulatory10.67
In February 2001, the Department told the Government it had wanted
to focus on the minority of firearms owners that posed a high risk
while minimizing the impact on the overwhelming majority of law-abiding
owners. However, the Department concluded that this did not happen.
Rather, it stated that the Program's focus had changed from high risk
firearms owners to excessive regulation and enforcement of controls
over all owners and their firearms. The Department concluded that, as a
result, the Program had become overly complex and very costly to
deliver, and that it had become difficult for owners to comply with the
10.68 The Department said the excessive regulation had occurred because some of its Program partners believed that the use of firearms is in itself a "questionable activity" that required strong controls, and there should be a zero-tolerance attitude toward non-compliance with the Firearms Act.
is why this matters to each and every firearm owner, as well as all
Canadians who value the rights and freedoms of all of us.
might not own a converted semi-automatic firearm, and therefore think
"so what?." The reality is that this same excessive regulation
will one day affect your right to own and use your firearms.
That is why you should read this article and then write a letter as outlined at the end of this article.
is a strong desire in the public sector to see the firearms control
system being operated in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
This appears to be a way for the firearms control system to put it's
best face forward.
Now, what can you do? The National Firearms
Association has contacted the CFO for the Northwest District as well as
the Commissioner of Firearms.
Your letters on this issue should
go to your Member of Parliament and the National Firearms Association.
The National Firearms Association needs your letters -- they are our
"ammunition" for this fight.
Canada's National Firearms
Association is working constantly to protect firearms owners. Join the NFA
You can write your Member of Parliament postage free:
(Name of Member)
House of Commons
National Firearms Association