DEFECTIVE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES AND REGISTRY ERRORS One of the new Regulations is section 1.1 of the “Firearms Registration Certificates Regulations.”
To understand it, one must go back to Firearms Act section 14(b). It says: “A firearm registration certificate may be issued only for a firearm that (a) bears a serial number sufficient to distinguish it from other firearms, or (b) that is described in the prescribed manner.”
Then Regulation 1.1 says, “For the purposes of paragraph 14(b) of the Act, the manner of describing a firearm is by referring to its make, class, type, action and calibre or gauge.”
Those two combine to destroy much of the usefulness of the firearms registration system. A firearms registration certificate is useless — particularly when used as evidence in a court of law — if this is the way a firearm is registered. An expert witness must be able to look at a registration certificate and at a firearm, and say, “This registration certificate describes this firearm and no other” and “This firearm is accurately described by this registration certificate and no other.” That is called ‘unique identification’ and it is vitally necessary as a feature of any firearms registration system.
If the defence attorney can show that the registration certificate describes the firearm before the court — but, equally well, describes a number of other firearms, then there is reasonable doubt about the connection between that registration certificate and that firearm. Without it, the case may well collapse.
If one takes that list, and creates an “example” registration certificate, it may say: Make: Smith and Wesson; Class: Restricted firearm; Type: Handgun; Action, Revolver; Calibre: .38; Serial number: 1234″
From that information, the firearm may be a Model 1-1/2, 2, 3, 10, 12, 14, 15, 20, 23, 32, 33, 36, 36LS, Double Action, K-38, Military and Police, 38/200 British Service Revolver, 37, 38, 40, 42, 042, 49, 50, 56, 60, 60-4, 60LS, 64, 67, 68, 442, 460, 637, 638, 640, 642, 649, USAF-M13, 38 Regulation Police, 38 Terrier, 38/44 Heavy Duty, 38/44 Outdoorsman, Chief Special, Bodyguard, or Centennial.
That is not quite as bad as it looks — but it is nearly that bad. The “Centennial” is the same gun as the “Model 40” — but a particular firearm can be identified as either. The necessary expertise to understand that is lacking in most firearms control authorities and expert witnesses, so confusion is not only possible but quite probable.
The Serial number does not and cannot sort out the confusion.
One of the firearms of each Model will carry the Serial number “1234.” The term “Model” means a group of identical or nearly identical firearms with Serial numbers that usually range from 1 to wherever the production run ended, so there is one firearm in each Model’s production run that has on it the Serial number 1234.
Returning to the example registration certificate, if we compare it to the list of Models made by Smith and Wesson, we cannot answer one simple question: “Which of these possibilities is the correct one?”
If one cannot answer that question, one cannot from the information that the firearms control officials are collecting, then one cannot identify the firearm described on the registration certificate. The registration certificate is useless as an “identification” document in a court of law unless the expert witness is willing to commit perjury.
If a registration certificate cannot be used to “identify” a firearm by saying, “This registration certificate describes this firearm and no other,” it is a rather useless document.
Canadian taxpayers have apparently spent over $1 billion tax dollars to create and operate a largely useless firearms identification system. It cannot, and will not, stand up in a court of law.