Question: I bought an firearm and had possession of it long enough to
receive a registration certificate. I then transferred the firearm to
my wife and she received a registration certificate for the rifle. We
now have 2 registration certificates for the same rifle. Does this
mean it is effectively dual registered?
Friday, February 25, 2005
Note the the registration certificate number is different on both certificates which would indicate to me that one of the certificates is no longer valid.
If the CFC considers possession to be equivalent to ownership then they would have automatically "revoked" my registration certificate when the firearm was transferred to my wife. Regardless of the fact that I gave/lent it to her instead of selling it to her.
In this case regardless of whether I think I still own the firearm, my registration certificate has been invalidated in the CFC database and I am in for a bit of a surprise should I be stopped by a police officer and asked for the firearm registration.
Better than improving the convenience of possession this firearms I would like for both of us to have valid registration certificates for this firearm so that we will both be grandfathered in the event that the government places this firearm into a prohibited class. How does one solve this problem?
Answer: Your registration certificate would have "expired" if you had transferred the ownership of the firearm to your wife [FA s. 66(a)]. If you did not transfer ownership of the firearm to her, your registration certificate did not expire, and was not revoked.
Therefore, your registration is in force and valid, and her registration certificate is in force and valid. We know that there is a difference between ownership and possession; however, I am not sure that the CFC does.
There is no such thing in the law as "automatic revocation" for such a reason. The CFR (not CFC, only the CFR is involved in registration) may delete their record of your registration certificate, but that is merely an error on their part. It has no effect on the validity of the registration certificate in a court of law.
The word "transfer" is defined twice in the law -- by CC s. 84(1) as "means sell, provide, barter, give, lend, rent, send, transport, ship, distribute or deliver", and by FA s. 21, which says, "For the purposes of sections 22 to 32, 'transfer' means sell, barter or give".
FA sections "22 to 32" deal with the process of transferring a firearm, and set certain limitations. Nothing in those limitations prevents one from using the CC s. 84(1) version of the definition of "transfer" rather than the FA s. 21 definition for the purposes you have in mind when you "transfer" the firearm to your wife. Your "transfer" was a way to "lend" the firearm to your wife, and to gain maximum convenience for both of you in using the firearm, through having the firearm registered to her as well as to yourself.
If stopped, one can point to FA s. 33 and FA s. 84(4), compounding their problem by proving that the firearm and its registration certificate can turn up in anyone's hands. Read CC 117.12; presenting the document "is evidence of the statements contained therein". Note that a registration certificate has no name or address on it, and that further confuses their issue.
Given the ridiculous over-complexity of the C-68 firearms control system, it is no wonder that so many people are taking advantage of this opportunity to simplify their lives and reduce the "red tape" they must endure to own and use firearms.
FA s. 16(1) says, "A registration certificate for a firearm may be issued to only one person."
That, by the NFA's interpretation, only means that they cannot issue one registration certificate with two names on it. It does not mean they cannot issue two registration certificates to two different people, with both of them covering the same firearm.
CC s. 84(4) says, "For the purposes of this Part, a person is the holder of...(b) a registration certificate for a firearm if… (ii) the person possesses the registration certificate with the permission of the lawful holder."
Therefore, you could have loaned both firearm and your registration certificate to her, and she would have been the "lawful holder" of the registration certificate, and been in lawful possession in that way, provided she also has a firearms licence that covers a firearm of that class.
Therefore, the law has no objection to her possession of the firearm. What you have done is simply a minor step to improve the convenience of her possession and use of the firearm, made desirable by the fact that proving legitimate possession by way of a registration certificate that is made out to some other person can be problematical.
Neither of you has done anything wrong. The firearm is now legitimately registered to each of you. Your registration has not "expired" as a result of FA s. 66(a), because you have not ceased to be the owner of that firearm.