CHALLENGING RECLASSIFICATION OF FIREARMS UNDER S. 74 OF THE FIREARMS ACT

CONTEXT

1. On May 1, 2020, the Government of Canada enacted an Order in Council SOR/ 2020-96 (the “OIC”) purporting to reclassify eleven categories of firearms as prohibited.
However, all of the categories are open ended. The lists are not exhaustive. A link to the OIC is provided below:

http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2020/2020-05-01-x3/html/sor-dors96-eng.html

2. Further to the enactment of the OIC, the RCMP has reclassified thousands of additional models of firearms in the Firearms Reference Table (FRT), under the guise that they fall within one of the eleven categories mentioned in the OIC, although they are not specifically listed in the OIC.

3. Commencing mid-July 2020, the RCMP has been sending out notifications to firearm owners, whose firearms were previously classified as restricted firearms and who are affected by the change of classification. These notices are unusual: they purport to be notifications of the change of classification and of the resulting cancellation of the registration certificate. These notices do not use the word “revocation” but rather refer to a “cancellation” or “annulment”. Further, these notices do not contain the mandatory notification to the affected party of the right to file a reference under s. 74 of the Firearms Act, to challenge the decision. This appears to have been done deliberately by the RCMP in order to avoid the filing of a flurry of references by the affected owners. Irrespective of the language used by the RCMP in
the notice, the NFA is of the opinion that these notices have the same effect as notices revoking a registration certificate and as such, they can arguably be challenged through a reference under s. 74 of the Firearms Act.

CONSIDERATIONS

1. Keep in mind that an NFA supported challenge (Parker et al. v. Canada / T-569-20) of the OIC has already been filed in the Federal Court of Canada, and the NFA has also filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene in such court challenge. Should that challenge be fully successful, it will arguably address and reverse all of the re-classifications made pursuant to the OIC.

2. However, and although the NFA is confident that the Parker et al. court challenge will succeed, lack of success cannot be summarily ruled out. In that perspective, we believe that there are circumstances in which it may be advantageous for owners whose firearms have been re-classified from restricted to prohibited status to file a reference under s. 74 of the Firearms Act.

WHICH RE-CLASSIFICATIONS WARRANT A S. 74 REFERENCE

1. You have the right to file a reference under s. 74 of the Firearms Act in respect of any decision of the Registrar of Firearms (RCMP) purporting to reclassify a firearm from restricted to prohibited status, as it amounts to revocation of an existing registration certificate. However, we see little value in filing such References in instances where the re-classified firearm is one which is expressly listed in the OIC (See link above, to determine whether your firearm is listed). First, in order to succeed on such a reference, the potential applicant would need to demonstrate that the OIC is invalid. Since those questions are already addressed in the Parker et al. v. Canada court challenge before the Federal Court, there is a strong likelihood that a provincial court would stay a reference raising the validity of the OIC, to await the outcome of the Parker et al. v. Canada case. Indeed, the outcome of the pending NFA supported Federal Court challenge (Parker et al. v. Canada) will be determinative of the validity of the OIC. We do not see value in filing individual references in those instances, since the underlying questions are already before a court of law.

2. If your firearm is not expressly listed in the OIC, but is nevertheless being re-classified from restricted to prohibited by the RCMP, there may be value to filing a Reference under s. 74 of the Firearms Act, challenging that decision. In most instances, the reference will be based upon the fact that your firearm does not constitute a “variant or modified version” of one of the nine (9) main semi-automatic firearm designs deemed to now be prohibited.

HOW TO FILE A REFERENCE UNDER S. 74 OF THE FIREARMS ACT

1. First, and most importantly, a s. 74 Reference must be filed within thirty (30) days of the date you received the notification of re-classification from the RCMP. If you are somehow precluded from filing within 30 days, for a valid reason (e.g. illness), you may apply to the Provincial Court for an extension of the time to file. The process for seeking an extension is the same as the process of filing a reference.

2. You may file through an attorney or by yourself.

3. The competent court is the provincial court of criminal jurisdiction of your province (e.g. the Ontario Court of Justice in Ontario, the Court of Quebec (Criminal Division) in Quebec, etc. You must file the Reference in the court district where you reside.

4. Some provinces use a prescribed form. Others do not. Call the court registrar / clerk to find out the local requirements.

5. In most provinces and territories, you may show up at the Registrar’s office, at the local Court House, and fill out a form. You will need to:
A) Designate the Registrar of Firearms (RCMP) as the Respondent;
B) Stipulate that you are challenging a decision of the Registrar revoking one or several registration certificates;
C) Append a copy of the Notice (or notices, if there are more than one)
D) Mention that the grounds for challenge is that your firearm(s) are not captured by the Order in Council SOR/2020-96;
E) Indicate a return date, which will be a pro-forma date;
F) Ask the Registrar whether the Court will notify the Registrar of Firearms of the Reference, or whether you need to do it. If so, it is your responsibility
to do so.

6. The Reference will eventually be set down for an actual hearing. We highly recommend that you retain competent counsel to represent you. You may also be able to ask the Court to join your Reference with other similar References for a joint hearing. This may be advantageous if the other References raise a similar issue (e.g. same category of firearms in the OIC) and another party to a Reference is represented by counsel.

7. Remember that incompetent advocacy may do more harm than good, since your case may set a precedent that will influence decisions in other cases.

Printable PDF

NFA announces support for court challenge to Liberal gun grab

May 07, 2020

Prince George, BC

Ottawa-based lawyer Solomon Friedman announced May 6, 2020 that, within the next few days,  he will be filing an action in the Federal Court, seeking to invalidate the recent  Liberal minority government’s Order in Council, purporting  to prohibit over 1,500 models of firearms, including modern sporting firearms and those capable of firing projectiles with over 10,000 joules of energy at the muzzle, or with a bore size of over 20mm.

Speaking from Prince George, NFA President Sheldon Clare stated: “The NFA will both be joining this case as an Intervenor, and actively supporting Mr. Friedman’s efforts. Solomon Friedman is an excellent lawyer and acknowledged expert in firearms law. He literally wrote the book on the subject.  He has argued firearms cases at all levels of court in this country, including the Supreme Court of Canada. We are pleased to provide Mr. Friedman with our expertise in these matters, and we intend to support fundraising efforts in aid of his clients’ case and in aid of our own intervention.  We regard this case as raising serious issues around the use of the Order in Council power, and to that end we have retained the services of Guy Lavergne to intervene in support of Mr. Friedman and his client(s) and to present additional and complementary arguments that are in the interest of the entire Canadian law-abiding firearms owners community.”

“In our opinion,” Clare continued, “The fight against this Liberal ban will be successful.  We have examined the history and intended use of OiCs, and conducted extensive research on the claims made in an attempt by the government to rationalize their incredibly rash firearms ban.  We do not believe that their claims stand up to scrutiny.”

“We are also aware that another gun rights organization has expressed an intent to launch a Charter of Rights challenge of this OIC.  Our own efforts will not be a duplication of that initiative.  Rather, we are taking a different approach which, in our estimation, has a greater chance of being ultimately successful and beneficial to the firearms owner community.”

If you wish to support our efforts in this regard, contributions in support of this case may be remitted to NFA.ca   Solomon Friedman requests that the NFA be the collection point for donations to this case.

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

Ban Bill Blair

May 02, 2020

In concert with our other firearms organizations, Canada’s National Firearms Association demands the immediate removal of Bill Blair as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and further, a public inquiry into the rationale and actions leading to the recent sweeping firearms ban.

Speaking from Prince George, BC, NFA President Sheldon Clare said, “From our analysis of yesterday’s regulation banning hundreds of thousands of semi-automatic firearms, and from the briefing with representatives from stakeholders, Public Safety, CBSA, Global Affairs, the R.C.M.P. and Justice, it is clear that the regulations were rushed through, and are ill-considered, unfair, and will cause harm.  The Minister is either malicious or incompetent, and either reason warrants his dismissal.”

“The government has been arbitrary and vindictive in the way in which this was done.  Last minute enabling changes to the law regarding what may and may not be classified are cause for grave concern about process and purpose,” stated Sheldon Clare, President and CEO of the NFA.  “These regulations were clearly a rush job, and possibly violated international agreements regarding notice of significant changes affecting international trade.  The rationale for this action is highly suspect and simply unsupportable on the facts.  There was no emergency here – this is clearly a matter of social engineering and ideology, rather than sensible public policy,” Clare continued.

“Firearm business owners have told us that they are on the hook for millions of dollars of product which they can neither sell nor return due to US import/export regulations. The Government made no arrangements with the US to return this unsold product.  The late Thursday closing of the transfer system caught many dealers and customers by surprise as money was exchanged but products were unable to change ownership.  This meant unhappy people seeking refunds from ambushed stores.  Further, the firearms selected for prohibition include many rifles which are well known to be suitable for hunting and sporting purposes.  It is a lie to refer to these firearms as military grade weapons.  They are simply modern sporting firearms of ergonomic design.  The attack on historical relics and curios is also offensive.   This entire gun grab is based upon nothing more than ignorance and emotion – it clearly has nothing whatsoever to do with public safety.  Exceptions for some groups of Canadians regarding firearms for hunting practices is also highly offensive and divisive.”

“During this time of economic crisis and pandemic, attacking firearms businesses and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Canadians who participate in hunting, target sports, collecting, as well as those who make a living providing protection and security is ill-considered and adds to our current economic disaster.  It was clear to the NFA that while lists of what to ban had been considered for some time, the Liberal government has not fully considered the associated consequences, intended or not.”

“This radical and sweeping action serves only the politics of division – it in no way augments any aspect of public safety. In our opinion Minister Blair has bungled this file and the NFA calls for his immediate removal from the Public Safety portfolio.”

Clare concluded, ”The NFA continues to communicate with its members, clubs, and businesses along with legal advisors to ensure we have all the information to make good decisions in the fight for our rights as we move forward.   In the meantime, the NFA advises all members to consult the regulations and the gazette, seek legal advice as needed, and to get involved in politics, right now.”

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

Liberal Gun Control a Ten Billion Dollar Tax Waste

January 23, 2020

Speaking from Prince George, NFA President Sheldon Clare criticized Liberal statements proposing additional gun control measures.  “Canada already has some of the most onerous and unnecessary firearms control in the world,” stated Clare, “Canadian firearms owners are statistically less likely to be involved in criminal activity than the general population.”

Mr. Clare continued, “The Liberal firearms control proposals floated for public consumption will cost the taxpayer in the neighborhood of ten billion dollars – all to regulate people who are over-regulated with additional controls that will merely reduce freedom, harm businesses, cost people their jobs, and build a strong lack of respect for the law.  None of Canada’s past firearms control laws have had any effect whatsoever on reducing violent crime, preventing or limiting violence, or in reducing suicide rates.”

Clare stated, “Public Safety Minister Blair’s repeated comments about more gun control show proposals more akin to a police state than anything suitable in a free society.  If the Liberal government actually wants to make a positive difference in people’s lives, tax money wasted on foolish gun control proposals would best be allocated to support police investigations of gangs, fund health care diagnostic equipment, and to support education and poverty alleviation programs.”

In conclusion Clare pointed out that, “Gun control is based upon a lie that it helps with public safety – it clearly has nothing to do with public safety.  In fact, more expensive gun control is a waste of tax revenues that provides no net benefit.  Instead, expensive gun control amounts to legally enforced theft of people’s private property.  Such a program is not appropriate in a free society.  Good people want to own firearms, and bad people will always be able to get them.  Ten billion dollars of tax money wasted on more control of good people, and their property, is insidious virtue signaling that is a net harm to society.  A government that seeks to punish the law-abiding by stealing their property does not deserve the confidence of the electorate.”

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

NFA defends Gun Owners in Toronto

December 2, 2019

Toronto City Councillors voted 41-4 in favour of measures involving asking the federal government to ban legal handgun sales in Toronto and asking Ontario to ban the sale of legal ammunition locally. City Council also voted on more civil disarmament items recommended by the Toronto Board of Health.

The NFA attended the preliminary Board of Health meeting leading up to the Council Meeting in the hope of educating the Board members about the folly of believing that banning possession of legal guns from law abiding firearms owners will deter outlaws from acquiring, possessing, and misusing their illegal firearms in the commission of criminal gun violence.

NFA Executive Director Charles Zach presented unchallenged evidence that gun bans result in no public safety benefit. He also presented evidence that discredited the belief that an increase in the legitimate ownership of restricted firearms, in particular handguns, also increased the availability to criminal elements and consequently an increase in homicide.  Three speakers presented against the bans at Toronto City Council: Charles Zach from NFA, Alison de Groot from CSAAA, and Dr. Greg Mosdossy from Doctors for Firearm Safety and Responsibility.  These were the only pro-firearms rights groups represented at the presentation session.

Charles Zach expressed concern: “The Board presented no evidence to support the efficacy of gun and ammunition bans to fight crime. In the end the Board ignored all contrary evidence and unanimously adopted the controversial gun control recommendations.”

NFA President Sheldon Clare agreed: “It was apparent to all those who watched the Board of Health deliberations as well as the City Council meeting discussions that a collective wrong-headed and preconceived decision was already made and that the Toronto councillors were not qualified to consider gun control matters in a rational manner.  Firearms owners are already over regulated in Canada, and more gun control is neither acceptable nor effective.”

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

NFA Comments on Supreme Court Refusing to hear Challenge of Quebec Registry

November 14, 2019

Speaking from Prince George, BC, NFA President Sheldon Clare commented that “Together with the rest of the country, we found out this morning that the Supreme Court of Canada has rejected the NFA’s Application for Leave to Appeal the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal, that found the Quebec Firearms Registration Act to be constitutionally valid.   As is customary, the Supreme Court of Canada did not provide reasons for denying the leave to appeal.

Although we are disappointed with this outcome, we do not in any way regret bringing up this constitutional challenge.  The NFA will continue to fight oppressive and invasive gun control legislation, whenever it can.  As is the case with most gun control legislation, the Quebec Firearms Registration Act focuses solely on the object (i.e. firearms) and imposes punishment where no ill or harm has occurred. It does nothing to address the improper or criminal usage of firearms.”

Mr. Clare continued, “The NFA has never encouraged people to break the law.  Nevertheless, many gun owners see this legislation as invasive and oppressive and have refused to comply.  This resistance to bad law is reflected in the compliance levels which are so low as to make the legislation almost irrelevant.”

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

No mandate for gun bans

October 22, 2019

We are still here. Even though the election wasn’t what we hoped, we put in a very good effort and we did win the popular vote, even if that didn’t translate into seats. Thanks for your donations and support that helped our advertising push in the closing days of the campaign. The firearms vote helped to defeat Ralph Goodale out of Regina – it’s quite clear given this divided country that whatever the minority Liberal government looks like, it has no mandate to make sweeping changes of any sort, let alone on disarming Canadians.

So, what’s next? Well, it’s time to double down. The NFA and you are not going away. Tell that to your newly elected MP. Make it clear that you are not giving up your rights and property, and that this new government clearly doesn’t have the mandate to make radical changes.

We are filled with a great resolve to keep our rights strong, and that is just what we will do. It’s time to work towards winning the next election, which may happen at any time.

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

Desperate and Unpopular Liberal Government announces gun ban Election platform

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Government, reeling from recent controversies, allegations of fraud, and the failures of his government, announced that his government will renew its attack on the rights. freedoms and property of Canadians if re elected.

Promising to target and ban “assault weapons,” a thinly disguised buzz word for semi automatic rifles, the Liberal plan also promises to impose a hodge podge of laws allowing cities to enact gun bans in their own jurisdictions if returned to office.

Speaking from Prince George, NFA President Sheldon Clare stated: “This is a desperate, hail Mary election ploy akin to the one tried by Prime Minister Paul Martin in the 2006 federal election, when he promised to ban hand guns if re elected.”

“It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now”.

“This crass and ill spirited move designed solely to take the focus off the Prime Minister and his government’s failures will not go unnoticed by Canadian voters this October,” Clare continued.

These legally owned firearms are not generally used in crimes and offences in Canada, and the Government has no statistical evidence to justify an election platform that has serious ramifications on the rights, freedoms and property of Canadians.

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

NFA seeks leave to Appeal to Supreme Court of Canada on Quebec Firearms Registry

NFA to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada over unconstitutional Quebec long-gun registry

MONTREAL – Canada’s National Firearms Association will be seeking leave to appeal the recent decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal, which validated the Quebec legislation purporting to create a provincial long-gun registry.

After the NFA led the way for the scrapping of the federal long-gun registry, the province of Quebec set out to create its own firearms registry and passed legislation to do so.  The NFA took the government to court and argued that Quebec did not have constitutional jurisdiction to enact such legislation, making the argument that it encroached upon federal jurisdiction in matters of criminal law, given that it replicated the former federal long-gun registry.  In a 2000 landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada had ruled that the latter fell under federal jurisdiction in matters of criminal law.

The Quebec Superior Court and Court of Appeal ruled that the registry fell both under the provincial heads of jurisdiction of “Property and Civil Rights” and “administration of justice”, and was thus valid, thus seemingly contradicting the aforementioned Supreme Court of Canada ruling.

“It is important that the Supreme Court of Canada review and invalidate Quebec’s legislation.” Said Sheldon Clare, president of the NFA.  “The Supreme Court was very clear, in 2000, that such a firearms registry is a federal matter, and not for the provinces – so we expect a consistent decision on this matter and look forward to continuing this fight on behalf of firearm owners and users.”

The last time the NFA and the province of Quebec went to the Supreme Court, the NFA was successful in preventing Quebec from obtaining federal firearms registration data.

“The NFA is not afraid to take on governments when we feel it necessary, and our track record of success backs that up. Firearm owners in Canada can count on us to fight this to the end, as it could have serious repercussions across the country.”

Canada’s National Firearms Association is this country’s largest and most effective advocacy organization representing the interests of firearms owners and users. Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Martin Bourget, 418-558-1185, mbourget@qacp.com
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca

The NFA gets a win against the Quebec Chief Firearms Officer

Today, Canada’s National Firearms Association scored a significant victory for Canadian firearms owners.

President Sheldon Clare explained, “A few months ago, the Quebec Chief Firearms Officer, and based upon our observations, other CFOs in Canada, had changed their policy in regards to approving transfers of restricted firearms and 12(6) prohibited firearms.  In short, the CFO was no longer accepting a membership in a foreign shooting Club as satisfying the criteria of s. 28 of the Firearms Act.  As a result, approval of transfers were being denied or withheld.”

Clare continued, “Upon learning of the Quebec CFO’s change of policy, the NFA provided the services of Guy Lavergne, its Quebec based attorney, to two NFA members who were in that predicament. As members of the Alburg Rod and Gun Club, a club and range located in Vermont, a few kilometers away from the Canadian border, they were being told by the Quebec CFO to either join a Canadian club, or forget about possessing restricted firearms. Through our perseverance and advocacy, we were able to convince the Quebec CFO that its policy was ill founded.  Today, the transfers were approved. A dozen or so other individuals who were in the exact same predicament should be similarly helped.”

Clare pointed out, “It’s clear that all RPAL holders who are only members of a foreign gun club were also at risk of eventually seeing their existing registration certificates revoked, and thus have to sell their restricted firearms or 12(6) prohibited firearms upon very short notice.  Indeed, a review of the purpose for which one possesses restricted or 12(6) prohibited firearms is triggered upon every firearms licence renewal. That risk is now averted.”

Clare concluded, “Hopefully, other CFOs who had either followed or might be tempted to follow in the footsteps of the Quebec CFO will reconsider their position.  If not, the NFA will step in on behalf of Canadian firearms owners as it has done so often.”

Canada’s National Firearms Association is the largest Canadian organization fighting for the rights of Canadian firearms users.  NFA is a registered UN NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC.

-30-

For more information contact:
Blair Hagen, Executive VP Communications, 604-753-8682 Blair@nfa.ca
Sheldon Clare, President, 250-981-1841 Sheldon@nfa.ca
Canada’s NFA toll-free number – 1-877-818-0393
NFA Website: www.nfa.ca